Rush Attacks

The purpose of the Rush Attacks lesson is to learn how to perform a  “rush” instead of a “charge.”

For Teachers

Click the Button to jump to How to Teach Rush Attacks.


After each Block, a following attack could be performed safely and in a controlled manner. Be aware of the situation and understand when it may be safer to just block.

If you need a review of the 8 Basic Blocks, take a look at the Basics of Dueling lesson.

Rush Attacks

A rush attack is a fast attack combining clean, intentional footwork, weapon control, and drastic changes in range. It is designed to kill your opponent as quickly and efficiently as possible. Rush attacks differ greatly from charging and pressing your opponents in that each attack is a single maneuver. It can be repeated over and over again in swift succession but each rush will have its own beginning and end. It can be easy to confuse a rush with the idea of ‘shock and awe,’ however a rush attack is not an uncontrolled flailing, running attack. While such tactics can get you a lot of kills they make you neither a good fencer nor a safe one. A successful rush attack is a well thought out and highly controlled maneuver comprised of three distinct but almost simultaneous components.

Clearing the Blade

The first step in a successful rush is making sure your opponents weapon is not going to skewer you as you close range. This is called Clearing the Blade. Whatever you do, clear the blade before you perform a rush attack. One of the best ways to do that is with a Tap or Beat.


A tap or beat is when you forcefully smack your opponent’s blade out of the way and off line. This isn’t a hacking maneuver. When you tap your opponent’s blade, the goal is to send their blade off line while keeping your point on line. You can then quickly close the distance before they bring their sword back on line.

Closing the Distance

Closing the Distance is getting closer to your opponent very quickly in a controlled manner. There are multiple ways to do that. Standard advances. Lunges. Moving forward in a Refused Stance with a Swoop Step. All are good ways to close distance. The only way that you don’t want to close distance is by leaving your stance and running foot over foot. At that point, you’ve lost all proper footwork and can lead to simply charging into your opponent.

Striking in the New Range

You will now be in a new range and will need to attack differently. Most attacks will come by pressing your blade into your opponent instead of reaching out to strike. This needs to be done safely and in a controlled manner. You also want to make sure that you keep your sword in a position that no matter how close you are to your opponent, your point can stay online.

Journal Prompt

How does the rush compare to the charge and which do you find easier to implement? How can you take better advantage of a rush attack?

Ready to move on?

You’ve completed the Rush Attack lesson and are ready to move on to the Melee Tactics, starting with the Falling Wedge.

How to teach

Rush Attacks


Use the following EDGE Method lesson summary to guide you along.


Explain the each of the following principles and how they are utilized in a rush. Emphasize the difference between a rush and a charge and why we should rush our opponents instead of charging them.

  • Rush Attacks
    • Clearing the Blade
    • Tap/Beat
    • Closing Distance
    • Striking in the New Range


Demonstrate a basic rush in comparison with a charge, pointing the advantages and the differences, with an assisting Swordsman.


After demonstrating, have the students pair up and walk the students through a basic rush to help them understand the technique. Utilize the following drill to practice:

Rush Attack Drill

Working in pairs, each student should take turns being the Attacker and the Defender. The Attacker’s role is to walk step by step through a rush attack, while the Defender remains in place as a target. Switch roles and repeat as necessary.


At this stage, each Novice should be able to utilize a Rush Attack on their own. Run through the following challenge before finishing:

Rush Attack Challenge (Block the Attack Progression 2)

Working in pairs, each pair should duel and attempt to rush their opponent when they deem appropriate and safe. Caution should be emphasized that students may rush at the same time, which can lead to collision or hard shots. The Teacher should help recognize when their opponent may be about to rush and what to do instead.