Footwork allows fencers to move up and down the strip. In addition to the en guard stance, there are three basic types of footwork: advance, retreat and lunge.

En guard

The en guard is a fencer's stance. To find the en guard, fencers first stand with their feet together, toes pointing the same direction. If they are right-handed, they then point their right foot at a 90 degree angle to the right while keeping their heels touching. For left-handed fencers, they point their left foot to the left. Then, they move the dominant foot along a straight line in the direction it's pointing. To complete the en guard, fencers bend their knees. It is important to remain low.


Fencers use advances to move toward their opponent. It is easiest to break an advance into two steps, and then make it more continuous.


Retreats are used to move away from an opponent. They are the exact opposite of an advance.


Lunges help fencers attack opponents who are just out of their hitting distance. Fencers lunge by pushing off with their back leg and kicking their front foot forward. The power comes from the back leg, so it is important to use a lot of force.

When in a lunge, the fencer's knee should be at a 90 degree angle. He or she must not lean too far forward or it could over-extend his or her knee. Also, it is important to remain in an upright position--not leaning forward or backward.

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