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Mike West




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PostPosted: Wed 22 Jun, 2005 8:58 pm    Post subject: Forte' and foible, difference between offense and defense?         Reply with quote

Are the forte and foible determined by whether the blade is being used for defense, and offense, or simply considered a part of the blade, no matter how the blade is being used?

For example: If I want to cut, then the part of the blade closer to the tip is the forte, and the part nearer to the hilt is the foible. However, is the determination different when the blade is being used to guard? For example: The part nearest the hilt is the forte, and the part nearest the edge the foible?
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Bill Grandy
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PostPosted: Wed 22 Jun, 2005 9:13 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The forte and foible are static terms. Everywhere from the hilt to the middle is the forte, everywhere from the middle to the tip is the foible, and these don't change.

I'm not sure, but I think you may have their uses misinterpreted. If I'm wrong, I apologize. Basically, the forte is where you have the leverage to push another sword away, thus it is the strong part. The foible can easily be pressed aside by the forte, being so far away from the hand, and therefore it is the weak. However, the foible is the fast part of the blade. Assuming we are talking about a cutting sword, the foible is the part of the blade you want to strike with. If you imagine the hilt being the center of a circle and the tip resting on the diameter, you can see that the further away from the hilt you get, the more the sword moves. Therefore there is more momentum in the strike. The forte will parry because it has the leverage of the arm behind it to stop the incoming sword. This is greatly simplifying the matter, but you get the gist.
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Matthew Kelty





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PostPosted: Wed 22 Jun, 2005 9:23 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Simply put, the Forte is the back half of the blade (Middle to the Hilt), the Foible is the front half (Middle to the Tip). It also corresponds to your "Defence" and your "Offense".

More correctly, the Forte and the Foible are the terms for the functional aspects of these certain area of the sword. The roots of the respective words should make it clearer, 'Forte' means strong, 'Foible' means weak.

As most swords tend to have a thicker cross-section the closer you get to the quillons, you've also got this stronger section of the blade with which to defend yourself, as well as overpower a weaker section of your opponent's blade (his Foible). You defend against the weak with the strong, Forte.

Conversely, the thinner and narrower section is lighter and faster, and probably sharper (if not at the actual edge, the overall profile is narrower, which will allow you to cut or penetrate easier and deeper. You inflict damage with the weak, but quick, Foible.

So, you *can* cut with the section of the sword nearest the Hilt, but this would still be using the Forte.

Some Authors also divided a blade into three sections, although I can't recall them off the top of my head, and something in the back of my mind is tellng me this is an 18th century+ set of terminologies.

Hope that helps.
Matthew
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Mike West




Location: North Carolina
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PostPosted: Wed 22 Jun, 2005 9:30 pm    Post subject: Thanks!         Reply with quote

Thanks! Happy
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Bill Grandy
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PostPosted: Wed 22 Jun, 2005 10:07 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Matthew Kelty wrote:

Some Authors also divided a blade into three sections, although I can't recall them off the top of my head, and something in the back of my mind is tellng me this is an 18th century+ set of terminologies.


The middle section was sometimes called the mezzo, some called it the terzo. Some Italian Renaissance masters divided the blade into four parts: prima (first), seconda (second), terza (third) and quarta (fourth).
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