Practice 1X

Annie grabbed Bernie’s arm, positioned it in the same way she had with Butch.

“How should I be holding my hand?” Kassie asked.

“Thumb up,” Annie replied, “a little to your six side, at about 1:30.”

“Little hand, not big hand,” Bernie said to Butch, who smiled at the joke.

“What’s six side?” Kassie asked.

“Has to do with body position,” Annie explained, standing in front of the line again. “We divide the body into four quadrants — ”

“As opposed to six quadrants?” Bernie said, voice dripping with sarcasm.

“OK then — quadrants. Imagine there’s a horizontal line running across your stomach area” — Annie held the palm of her right hand down as she moved it across her stomach — “and a vertical line from head toe down the middle of your body.” She held her righ hand straight up, thumb towards her body, sliced down from her face. “There are eight parries in fencing, two for each quadrant, one with the palm up and another with palm down.

“We’ve only done the two most common parries, four and six. Four is where you come across your body,” she said, extending her arm forward and slowly turning her wrist over, “and six, which is to parry attacks coming over your weapon arm.”

“Why are they called four and six? Why not one and two?”

“Well, there’s a progression to the parries. It would take a while to explain, and I really don’t know all the details. And it’s late, so, one more time,” she said, crouching down into en garde position once more, palms pushing down, “let’s try to get in our footwork.”

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