Terminology

Before I can meaningfully talk about fighting concepts with people, I need to ensure that we are using the same terms with the same meanings. To that end, I have put together this initial list of terms I use in discussing fighting:

Attack: A strike with intent to hit the opponent.

Bait: A deliberate opening in a fighter’s guard with the intention of encouraging the opponent to perform a specific action or type of action.

Beat: A sharp, controlled strike to the blade of the opponent’s weapon, intended either to provoke a reaction or create an opening. A beat may also be done to the opponent’s shield or hand.

Body Alignment: Where your center line is relative to your opponent’s center line.

Center Line: An imaginary line projecting directly ahead from your center of mass.

Chop: A type of attack. A chop is a slashing cut with the edge of the blade moving in a straight line.

Compound Attack: An attack that incorporates one or more feints.

Counter-Attack: A counter-attack is an attack during an opponent’s attack without bothering to parry. See also tracing and riposte.

Darkside: Any shot thrown under and around the shield. For a lefty, this means that the sword passes under your shield and to the outside (right) of your shield to attack the opponent from the outside (your right) of the opponent.

Disengage: A type of feint. It consists of a feint to one side of the opponent’s blade, followed by a tight circle under the opponent’s weapon to the opposite side, where the attack is prosecuted. A common example is a feinted stab to the outside lane shoulder, followed by a dip under the opponent’s weapon which is turned into a stab to the torso.

Ditch: (Also Trench) A type of group combat the consists of only melee equipment, with no armor or projectiles. Players are divided into two teams, engage in combat for a single life, and the first dead player from the winning team joins the losing team. New players joining the game may be substituted for first dead. A new round of combat then ensues. Also known as “First Blood” in Dagorhir.

Feint: An offensive movement that resembles an attack in every way except completion. A feint is intended to draw a reaction from the opponent.

French Grip: (Also Sabre Grip) A method of holding a weapon that places the handle diagonally across the palm, with primary grip accomplished by the pad of the thumb and side of the forefinger, with the later three fingers coiled around the handle for control and stabilization.

Grinding:Grinding is a form of fighting where the aggressor closes to an intimate range, often measured in inches from the opponent. This makes the front target area difficult or impossible to reach and makes the back much easier to reach.

Guard: The default hand and foot placement of a fighter that is used when the fighter is not actively engaged in offensive or defensive action.

Hammer Grip: A method of holding a weapon where the handle is gripped perpendicular to the palm, much like a hammer is held. The thumb is wrapped around the handle in the opposite direction of the fingers.

Hand Block: Using an empty hand to intercept an attack, sacrificing the limb to avoid a killing strike.

Hand Matching: Hand matching is the act of mirroring the opponent, typically in a single-sword situation. This means that, when faced with an opponent wielding a weapon in their right hand, the hand-matching player would fight with their weapon in their left hand.

Italian Grip: A method of holding a weapon where the forefinger and thumb (or forefinger, middle finger, and thumb) grip the cross-guard or blade of the weapon.

Inside Lane: The direction in front of the body. (The right for left-handers.)

Jamming: In jamming, the aggressor makes contact with the opponent’s weapon and attempts to manipulate it. This is different from a beat in that it is a sustained action and the goal is to keep the opponent’s weapon tied up and controlled by the aggressor for the duration of some other action.

Lane: (Also Lines) A lane is a quadrant of the target player’s body, with the dividing line being the sword (or in some cases the shield) of the target player. Lanes most often are divided into inside and outside lanes. The outside lane is on the side of the sword away from the body, while the inside lane is the space on the “body” side of the sword.

Late: A shot that is late is one which was either begun or which was effected by some direction changing muscle action after the wielder was either killed or struck in the controlling arm with a shot that inflicted a wound. Experienced fighters will typically use the word “late” to indicate to an opponent that the strike the experienced fighter just landed was invalid for one of these two reasons.

Lunge: A type of attack that involves footwork. The sword-side leg is extended in a forward in a step while pushing off with the opposite leg.The sword-side leg ends with knee bent so that the knee is above the toes and the opposite leg is at full extension. Simultaneous to this movement, the sword arm is extended in a strike, typically a stab, and the opposite arm is extended backwards as a counterbalance.

Outside Lane: The direction away from the front of the body. (The left when used in relation to a sword in the left-hand.)

Perpendicular: When two lines are at a right angle to one another, making a ‘T’.

Primary Return: The primary return is the riposte or counter-attack to a shot that is the quickest shot to throw that has a reasonable chance of landing. This leads to it being the most common response to that particular attack. An example would be a straight vertical chop being the primary return against a horizontal inside chop in a hand-matched single sword fight.

Punch Block: A type of block. The weapon hand is advanced aggressively to intercept an incoming attack, allowing the opponent’s weapon to strike the defender’s weapon hand or the weapon just above the hand.

Punch Shield: A shield that is attached to the player by the means of a single centrally-placed handle. Also known as a “Center-Grip Shield.” Despite the name, the shield is not especially intended for striking.

Riposte: An attack made immediately after parrying an opponent’s attack. See also Counter-Attack and Stop-Thrust.

Secondary Return: The secondary return is the riposte or counter-attack to a shot that is the second quickest shot to throw that has a reasonable chance of landing. This leads to it being a less common response to that particular attack.

Simple Attack: An attack that contains no feints.

Slot: A slot is a chop that strike’s the opponent’s shoulder, landing in the “slot” between head and the opponent’s weapon.

Sluff: (Also Slough) The act of illegally refusing to take a hit that resulted from a valid attack.

Stop-Thrust: (Also, Stop-Cut) A counter-attack that allows the fighter to attack an opponent as the opponent attacks in such a way that the hit from the stop-thrust disrupts the initial attack. A stop-thrust differs from tracing in that the stop thrust is intended to and is capable of preventing the initial attack from succeeding.

Strap Shield: A strap shield is a shield that is attached to the player by means of a strap around the forearm and a handle. Strap shields can have the straps centered in the shield (“Center Strapped”) or in the bottom half of the shield (“Bottom Strapped”).

Tracing: A method of fighting that relies on counter-attacks. The player does not launch initial attacks of his own, instead choosing to wait for the opponent to begin a strike and then counter-attacking instead of parrying or dodging. This differs from a stop-thrust in that tracing attempts to merely land a hit when the opponent does so. See also Stop-Thrust and Counter-Attack

Wrap: A type of attack. A wrap is a rotational motion of the weapon along the plane of the weapon that causes the tip of the weapon to move through an arc perpendicular to the length of the weapon.