So to start thinking about these three actions, our first question is what are they? The textbook definitions are:
RIPOSTE – a riposte is the attack delivered by a fencer who has been attacked and successfully parries. I would add to this that the parry may be by blade or by distance and serves the primary purpose of preparing the riposte.
STOP HIT – any action delivered into an attack to stop that attack be either (1) hitting and the opponent hesitating or missing with the legitimate attack, (2) hitting in foil or sabre with exploitation of lock out time, or (3) arriving before the initiation of the final movement of multiple tempo attack. The stop hit (cases 1 and 2) operates as a part tempo action – it inserts it self into the single tempo of the attack, starting after the opponent and landing before the opponent’s action. The stop hit is a cousin to the time hit, which is basically a stop hit with opposition. The stop hit itself can be divided into the stop hit (cases 1 and 2) and the stop hit in tempo (case 3).
REMISE – a remise is a renewal of the attack in the same line after the opponent’s parry. It is a cousin of the redouble (a replacement in a different line and of the ceduta, a second intention pivoting on the parrying blade and angulation to land behind and inside the parry.
Okay, that is great, but what do they have in common? Each of these represents a way to hit the opponent in the frase in which the opponent attacks. If we put them in order according to when each one attempts to defeat the attacker they flow:
EARLIEST OPTION: the attack is launched:
(1) STOP HIT – either point in foil and epee or point and cut in sabre. In epee and sabre the stop is typically delivered to the forward target. In foil it may be best employed with an evasion.
(2) STOP HIT IN TEMPO – against the multiple tempo attack.
(3) TIME HIT – secured by opposition in the opponent’s line preventing the attack from landing.
MIDDLE OPTION: the attack is parried:
(4) RIPOSTE – either direct or with a wide variety of indirect, attacks on the blade, or takings of the blade.
FINAL OPTION: actions after the attack – the riposte is parried and the opponent is conceptually preparing the counterriposte
(5) CEDUTA – a second intention to negate the parry by pivoting around it to hit with angulation.
(6) REMISE – a direct stop hit against the counterriposte that hesitates or releases from the parry.
(7) REDOUBLE – an indirect stop hit into a different line against the counterriposte that hesitates, especially with continued pressure in the parry.
Note that the CEDUTA, REMISE, and REDOUBLE all can be used as renewals by the initial attacker as well as renewals of the riposte by the initial defender. However, in this case they are all stop hits against the counterriposte.
So what do we need to do these actions successfully?
(1) practice to the point of highly accurate automaticity. You must be able to execute immediately upon the opportunity presenting itself and be able to achieve a high percentage of hits when doing so.
(2) acceleration. Speed is important, but acceleration as the ability to change the speed to the opponent’s disadvantage when their attack is met is critical.
(3) a good parry, whether blade or distance. If you are going to prepare a riposte with a parry, you don’t want to be hit through a hole in that preparation.
(4) an opponent who over commits and loses balance, hesitates in executing the actions, who misses consistently, or who has bad tactical judgment.
(5) an excellent sense of the dynamics of distance and what is possible in each distance.
(6) courage and self-confidence – the ability to commit completely to a risky course of action. If you hesitate because this might happen or that might happen you have lost.
Oh, and did I forget to say practice? Mental practice, solo practice, practice in lessons, practice in club competitions, and practice in tournaments that you enter for practice.