A circular or counterparry can also be used to protect each side. In these parries the fingers are used to move the blade in a tight circle, picking up the attacker's foil as it comes in to threaten one area and forcing it through a small arc to a point where it cannot reach the target.
The riposte is the counteroffensive action which may be taken by the defender after he has successfully parried an attack. Fencing rules give the defender the right to score after a successful parry. The drawings above show four simple ripostes.
Figure 1: Fencer B attacked high inside (quarte). Fencer A parried in that area—as shown in the outlined figure—then dropped his foil point toward the attacker's chest and extended his arm while leaning forward for the touch.
Figure 2: Fencer B attacked high outside (sixte). Fencer A parried, extended his arm and dropped the foil point for the touch. In this riposte the initial defender must remember to cover himself by keeping his hand well to the right, blocking his opponent's blade.
Figure 3: Fencer B attacked low inside (septime). Fencer A parried by dropping the point of his foil in a downward arc and then whipped the blade upward for a touch on his opponent's chest.
Figure 4: Fencer B attacked low outside (octave). Fencer A parried by dropping his foil point and then returned for the touch on the chest. This riposte must be very fast. It can be made either under or over the attacker's arm, depending on whether the attacker has carried his foil hand high or low while pressing his offense.
In these five pages I have outlined the basics of a sport which has given my wife and me many invigorating hours of competition between ourselves, as well as against others. So long as a mask, jacket and glove are worn at all times, fencing with a foil is a safe, exciting activity for the whole family.