Poking Each Other With Sticks Since 2006

Fencing Language In “I Love You, Man”

In 2009, a movie came along that I found utterly hilarious.  What tickled me even more was that the main character fenced!  (Something we have in common).  And just like The Princess Bride, screenwriter and director John Hamburg decided to add some fencing dialogue… something that us fencing nerds soo relish to hear.  (Fencing nerds, lets be honest!)  After the above pictured bout, in which Paul Rudd’s character Peter Klaven executes a mean In Quartata on his opponent Gil, (and Gil resorts to a mask throwing tantrum) they exchange these words:

Gil: Bro.  Really sorry I lost my #@$% out there.  I just did not see that In Quartata coming.

Peter: Hey man, don’t worry.  You know you came in with a pretty sweet glissade.

Eugene: Anybody seen my manchette?

Larry: Did you look under your plastron, #$%& wicker?

When I first heard this exchange, I (even like Olympic silver medalist fencer, Tim Morehouse) didn’t recognize some of the terms.  But after some research, I now have the answers that both the fencing community (and possibly, the film-loving community) would love to hear.

An In quartata is an offensive action (or ‘stop thrust) in swordplay whereby you move your body ‘off-line’ by way of a left leg extends (right-handed fencers) 45 degrees to the line of direction (watch clip at the bottom of the article).

A glissade is actually not a fencing term per se, but a ballet or dance step that involves a skillful glide or sliding movement.

A manchette is a special glove that is worn to protect the weapon hand.  Most fencers just call this “the glove,” however in fencing conversation (especially those that practice the sabre) you might hear the term Coup de Manchette, which means “Cut to the arm.”

A plastron is a protective pad worn to protect the torso and side.  Most plastrons available cover 3/4 of the body, thus allowing your free arm to move with less restriction (and less protection).

* Paul Rudd : “I actually had fenced before this film.  In fact, the guy who oversaw the fencing in this film was my teacher 20 years ago.  Just kidding about that, but I have seen most of Errol Flynn’s movies.  That’s where I came up with ‘On guard that.'”

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