Obviously you cannot expect your opponent to stand still while you come at him or her with your own attacks. You will be facing someone who is just as determined as you are to win the bout, so you need to be prepared with counter movements against their attacks as well.
Here are a few basic ones:
Point in line.
A point-in-line is an established threat made with the extended arm. A point-in-line is a static or unmoving threat, created by one fencer by extending the weapon and arm prior to any actions.
In foil and sabre, a point-in-line has right of way, therefore, if the line is not withdrawn, any attack launched by the opponent does not have right of way. You would score the point.
Here is a video example of point-in-line in foil.
An attack made against, or into, an attack initiated by your opponent is simply a counter-attack. In other words, it’s an attack on an attack. In foil and sabre, a counter-attack does not have the right-of-way.
Counter attack with opposition.
An action to seize the opponent’s blade and control it progressively (moving along the blade) in the same line (of the opponent) is opposition.
So, counter attack with opposition is an attack or counter-attack in the same line as the opponent’s blade; a combined parry and riposte.
This is, by definition, an offensive maneuver, since to ‘progressively’ control the opponent’s blade you must move along its length, closing distance towards him.
Counter attack with evasion.
An evasion is a move that causes the opponent’s point to miss by using carefully timed footwork. It might also be considered derobement, which is evading the opponent’s attempts to beat or take the blade while your arm is extended and your point is in line. When the opponent fails to find the blade during their attack preparation, the attacker has been derobed.
Counter-Offensive First Intention.
By definition, this is a tactic by which you wait for the attack to begin and then execute your counter-offensive action into the attack, catching your opponent by surprise. In other words, you’re attacking in response to their first move, not making the first move yourself.
Attack in preparation.
Attack on Preparation is a set of actions where you take your opponent out of their attack by disrupting their preparation or sequence of movements. In other words, they are preparing their moves, and you attack during this preparation.
As an example, your opponent may begin to make preparations to draw your parry so they can make a disengage. Instead of giving the parry, however, you can attack into the preparation and gain right of way.
Fencing is like any other form of combat or even adversarial game – both opponents will try and avoid the other’s attack while trying to strike out. It doesn’t matter if you’re Playing Poker or snap, you’re wrestling or fencing, you’ll want to avoid your opponent’s attack and counter or strike back as quickly as possible.