Chapter 1K

Double-J had taken a few steps backwards after blocking Rex’s lunge, and Rex approached him again, stepping forward slowly this time — right foot pointed at his opponent and lifting, extending, landing, then his back foot, pointed ninety degrees to the left, pushing forward to about half a foot behind the front, heels in line with each other. But as Rex lifted his front leg again, Double-J shuffled forward quickly and lunged, foil extended. Rex moved his wrist to the left, his elbow not moving from its position, and his foil collided loudly with Double-J’s. As a yell of excitement sprang from the crowd, Rex quickly extended his foil forward at Double-J. Behind Rex, Bernie raised his hand high and straight. Double-J drew his arm back slightly, and jabbed his foil forward; Annie raised her hand. 

“Halt!” cried the Coach. “As the referee, it’s my job to decide who initiated the attack. In foil fencing, the person who attacks first has right of way, and the opponent needs to block the attacker who has right of way before counter-attacking. In this case, even though the fencer on my right moved forward, he didn’t attack first. The initial attack came from my left” — the Coach motioned to Double-J — “and the fencer on my right” — pointing now to Rex — “attempted to block. In fencing, we call a block a parry. After the parry, the fencer on my right then counter-attacked, or what we call a riposte. After the parry and riposte, the fencer on my left then did a second attack. It’s important to know this order of attack, because the first hit stops the action. Now, it’s time to check with my judges to see if there were any hits. Judge to my right — the first attack from the right — was there a hit?”

“No, not the first attack” said Annie, loudly.

“I agree, the first attack was blocked, we’ll get to the second attack later. Judge to my left — the parry and riposte from the left — was there a hit?”

“Yes,” said Bernie.

“And I confirm,” said the Coach. “We have a touch from the left, which stops the action, doesn’t matter whether the second attack from the right hit. The score is one” — pointing to Rex — “to zero.”

A round of applause erupted from the audience, and the Coach and all the team members looked up in surprised recognition that the action had aroused such interest among the student body. The loudest applause came from the seniors.

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