THE SARBO TACTICAL WHEEL

The Tactical Wheel defines how to defeat particular actions, beginning with the simple attack. As shown above, the direct attack is defeated by a parry-riposte, which is defeated by a feint-attack, which is defeated by a counterattack, which is defeat by an attack, which is defeated by a parry-riposte, etc. Thus, reducing fencing to little more than a physical game of paper, rock, and scissors.

In reality, nothing is this simple. A direct attack can be defeated not only by a parry-riposte, but by backing up out of distance (sometimes called a distance parry) or by a counter-attack with opposition, or by ducking or -- if the opponent is short -- just by sticking your arm out if your reach is longer, or by swinging your blade so your opponent doesn't even think to do a straight attack, or by carefully retreating while reaching out to beat the opponent's blade and then hitting.

Thus, the tactical wheel provides a good framework for understanding fencing actions but is NOT all there is to know about fencing actions. It is limited to simplistic, forseen actions and puts an emphasis on the final action and not enough on the preparations. Once a fencer feels confident that he/she understands the actions described on the Tactical Wheel, it's probably time to look at Czajkowski for better development of fencing strategies.