Intermediate Training Drills

Three Strikes, You’re Out

In alternating pairs, thrust to three targets named by the instructor or a member of the pair. Call out all three, then say “Begin!” Then have a small lunge added. Then have a deep lunge added. Start with unlimited time to acquire targets and attack them, softest touch possible. Then have time reduced to three seconds, calling “Stop!” when time has expired. Hit too hard or miss your target and you’re out

Equipment needed: One rapier and one mask (or any amount of armor that makes the instructor comfortable. With advanced students, no other padding but the mask required.)

Off-Hand Comment

In alternating pairs, have one person thrust with a deathstick as the other parries using the offhand only. Begin with offhand in front. Then have hand refused. Then have the rapier in unused hand (it’s only there as an impediment and makes NO offensive motions). All thrusts below the neck.

Equipment needed: One deathstick and one glove (rapier optional).

Crossed Swords

In alternating pairs, have students cross rapiers at the tip and move around the floor. One person leads. Then have students maintain distance with only one rapier “engaged” the other held low. Leader says “Check!” and follower lifts blade and engages. Measure, using two inch rule (Tips should be no more than two inches apart). Then have both students engage without any blades. Leader says “Check!” both blades are raised to measure.

Equipment needed: Two rapiers or deathsticks.

Runaway Thrust

In alternating pairs, have one student engage “refused.” On the command “Thrust!” given by the instructor or defender of the pair, “refused” student steps through and makes a thrust. Defender parries and makes a counter attack. Then have refused student make from two to five thrusts to various targets, then continue as before. Then have defender parry with off-hand and counter.

Equipment needed: Two rapiers, armor to suit instructor/speed of drill.

Pray for Mercy

In alternating pairs, one fencer DOWN, one UP. UP fencer does five simple thrusts. DOWN blocks. Reverse positions. Continue indefinitely. Then have DOWN make five thrusts and UP do five blocks continue until you beg the instructor for mercy.

Equipment needed: Full padding, two rapiers.

Look Ma, No Hands

In pairs, have one fencer (who cannot advance) attack one who is un-armed. Un-armed blocks until a thrust successfully lands (HANDS ARE IMMUNE BUT MAY BE CONSIDERED TARGETS FOR ADVANCED STUDENTS). Reverse roles. Then have pair move around. Then have attacker use draw-cuts only.

Equipment needed: Gloves and mask on unarmed. Two rapiers or deathsticks.

Name That Tune

In pairs, have fencers duel at a controlled tempo, attacking ONE TARGET ONLY.(i.e. wrists, forearms, lead leg etc.) Then have two targets: one low(legs) and one high (head).

Equipment needed: Full padding for beginners/intermediate. Pad only the targets area and masks for advanced students.


In pairs have students fight kneeling. Then have barriers left, right and between.

Equipment needed: Full armor, two rapiers.