The Instigator
Con (against)
0 Points
The Contender
Pro (for)
5 Points

The "Flick" attack should be continued as a valid touch

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/13/2015 Category: Sports
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,346 times Debate No: 76525
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (21)
Votes (1)




Debate structure:
1st Round- Acceptance
2nd Round- Argumentation
3rd Round- Rebuttals only (no new material beyond argumentation may be presented)
4th Round - Conclusion only (no new material may be presented)

"The Flick attack in the sport of Foil Fencing should remain a valid scoring method".

The 'Flick' attack is outlined here:

It should be noted that the instigator has taken the CON position, arguing that the 'Flick' attack is taboo, and should NOT be a valid method to practice for scoring.


I accept. As a former foilist and sabruer it is my duty to uphold the flick within fencing for all weapons, but especially within foil fencing.

Debate Round No. 1


Imagine my surprise when a debate topic so esoteric as this gets snapped up so quickly, and by some one whom so (by the numbers) out-classes me. Thanks to my contender, and I hope to make a good read.

For the Laymen, here.

Fencing harkens back to a different time to find its roots; one that doesn’t need electricity to determine a winner. The winner was found by whom is not in a pile of blood on the floor. Through the ages, with the advent of technology, fencing was able to move from definitive winner via pulse to subjective winner with judges. Then, the aid of further technology enabled for even more precision regarding scoring without the unfortunate side effect of death.

Currently, “Sport” fencing, or “Olympic” fencing consists of making use of small amperages and voltages to make or break circuits through the “touch” of a simulacra weapon to establish scoring. This descriptor is important: what each fencer holds is a weapon, not some silly scoring device. In its roots, this was a rapier, a proverbial three foot long needle with casual edges at the tip to allow for cuts at range at the wielder’s preference, in addition to the raw piercing power of focusing the attacker’s lunge into one scant hair-sized point. A “touch” was what could reasonable score blood. With the desire to not die, different simulation weapons were adopted.

I say all that because there is indeed a spirit of the game. Fencing is not electronic tag. Fencing is a deadly game of deception, aggression and martial prowess. With is current state, it has fallen to us to make use of rule-sets to ensure that the former martial art of sword finesse holds true while making sure that opponents engage in a safe, but ultimately skill based sport.

The “Flick” breaks all that. A Flick needs mechanical advantage, withdrawing of the attack to create the “whip” of the Flick, and violates the spirit and potential safety of the opponent.

To start, the obvious problem is Safety.

The Flick, by its nature, is designed to strike in a place where the attacker is not immediately aiming. A fencing mask protects the wearer from front attack, and side attack. Enclosing the head wholly makes for a variety of new complications, and current rule-sets that allow for the Flick do not consider the back of the skull for concerns. Off target Flicks, have the immediate capacity to strike an opponent where no protective gear is present. A traditional point in line attack, however cannot do this, unless gross incompetence is engaged in by both opponents. This reason alone, I feel, should be the immediate disqualifier for such attack to be able to score, or reasonably thrown to begin with.

A Flick requires surrender of Right of Way.

Right of way for an attack is established by a threatening posture of the attacker. Quite literally, extending the arm and pointing the weapon at the opponent is considered an attack (usually known as “Point in Line”), and if an opponent should get tagged by such a basic attack while engaging in a counter attack, the action is halted in favor of the person whom first established Right of Way. It is incumbent upon the defender to defend from the attack. If a touch can be made without a parry (blade contact to represent a block of the attack), so be it, however the Flick, because it needs a withdraw of Point in Line to be thrown to be effective, negates itself as an attack, and as such, need not be parried for a counter attack, no matter how slow to the “Time” (explained next) of the match, to be effective.

The Flick is “Out of Time”.

When fencers engage in flurried or repetitious attacks, a measured beat can be established. An “In Time” attack, parry, or riposte (counter attack from a block) is one that occurs reasonably close to how those beats (attack/parry/riposte) are falling. This is highly subjective, however that is the nature of judging a match: needing to find the in-time strikes and in the case of the Flick, appropriate counter attack. To throw a Flick, the opponent must aim off target, the nature of such indicating no right-of-way, and make use of mechanical advantage and not skill to land a successful touch (score). There is no riposte to a Flick, and that is the point, it evades timing and skill of the opponent through alternate means.

The Nuts and Bolts of a Flick:

The thrower of the “Flick” is not aiming at the opponent. At all. Sure, the intent is to land the tip of the weapon on the opponent, but that is not the aim. In reality, the thrown attack is some place (any place!) out in space past reasonable parry distance of the opponent, with the hopes that alteration of the arm further to a further out of line stance will then bend the blade in such a fashion it curves “around” the opponent. Ideally, the goal is to distort the current weapon beyond its “spirited” means to score a touch through mechanical advantage. In such a case, its no longer about “Point in Line”. Its about how metallurgically stable your blade can be with attempts to turn a needle into a whip.

With regards to a “spirit” of the event, by now, I don’t think I need to belabor it. The initial concept was to run the opponent through, to put your blade, via aiming it, feinting it, and misdirecting the opponent, through the opponent in order to achieve victory. Judges, after the “death” portion of the show was mitigated, were looking to whom would be dead first, this was established by whom attacked first. The rapier is not a whip. Its not a metal device intended to be slung in a circle in order to establish priority. There are far superior weapons for that. The core, the heart of fencing, were two people with appreciation of their lives. They looked each other in the eyes and set about to devise a way in which to skewer each other. The men were separated from the boys for countless centuries based on that ability. I, personally, find it hard to believe that we have devolved in the manner of both prowess and sport to rely not on ability, but on versatility and availability of equipment to demonstrate such.


That *h*t hurts when you do it wrong. I have been on the receiving end of it, many times. I have judged it at my local fencing club, many times. A Flick that lands wrong and on a person has now converted a 3 foot long piece of spring steel into a rat trap, with whatever bits of flesh to snap on as were available as physics indiscriminately chooses. A person that engages in a Flick is hoping beyond hope that the person they deliberately missed on their attack won’t throw an immediate attack in return, AND hopes the judge won’t notice the unsubtle arm and wrist withdrawl needed to complete the attack (which then negates it as an attack). To me, it seems as though the opponents safety is callously disregarded. This part of my argument is solely anecdotal, but I highly doubt is isolated. To learn to "Flick" in which you land where you needed to land, your opponents well being was disregarded. I am confident that while "dry" fencing, my opponent is mindful, and I am confident that my opponent in this debate is equally skilled and mindful of those they practice with and on, that is the nature of skill.

I, however, have no desire to use my fellow club fencers as a literal whipping post in order to develop a technique that rely on how well my weapon becomes not the weapon as intended.

That attempts to circumvent my fellow club members as fencers, and teaches them nothing, and gives them nothing as a bench mark to clear.

That is a reprehensible example to set, and the Flick will have no part in my repetoire because of it.



I thank Con for instigating this debate. I can tell this is going to be fun.

In my research for my round, I found it surprisingly difficult to find sources on anything I am going to claim. Thus much of my rounds are constructed from personal experience – much like Con’s is. I don’t expect Con to disagree with many of the claimed facts (such as the 2005 timings lead to significantly lower levels of flicking), even though it is virtually impossible to find a good source which verifies that claim. So I will let Pro contest from his own experience any factual claims which may be false, and I largely intend to do the same to his.

The resolution appears to be a shared BoP, for while I am on the positive end of the case, Con is arguing against the status-quo. I don’t foresee this being an issue since we have our own positive contentions either way, but just to make a note.

Also, it is clear from the resolution that the negation of the resolution would be to invalidate flicking, or prohibit it on some level, such a notion can only be achieved pragmatically by changing the fencing rulings, to which I don’t believe Pro will disagree. Thus, this debate is about whether or not we should change the rules on what points are valid or not. Such a change is presently only executable by the Federal Instutute of Escrime (F.I.E) – this the resolution narrows down further on whether or not F.I.E. should change the rulings regarding flicking.

Also, given that the fencing community is relatively small, and the literature is relatively thin regarding fencing (e.g. the ranked list of sabruers in the UK contains less than 500 people), I anticipate that a lot of my evidences will be from forums, anecdotes, and personal know-how. Which given Con’s opening argument, seems to be a fair setting for this debate regardless.

T3h Fl1ck
The flick in fencing, which can be done in any weapon is where the weapon is launched in a “whipping” motion, with the natural “bendiness” of the weapon causing the weapon to hit with a “significant” curve – often effective in avoiding parries, or hitting target areas not otherwise accessible (such as the back of the torso, or the extreme sides). See below image of such a flick performed on the rear torso:

See below for diagram of the valid target area for hitting in foil, any hits outside the orange area do not score a point:

Note that the flick can accomplished from many different circumstances, while the flick can be performed as a direct attack (used instead of the traditional “lunge with point-in-line”), it can also be used in a parry reposté (one of the most standard & common defensive manoeuvres in foil fencing), with feint/compound attacks, and also in “beat”-attacks (another form of compound attack).

C1. Defining a “flick” is subjective
The problem with ruling out flicking as a valid touche, is that it is impossible to fairly and consistently rule. The reason for such is that foils whip and bend all over the place all the time, even during normal lunching motions (please see video #1 for a slow-motion replay, watch the motion of the foilist’s blades in even traditional motions).[] Such actions are difficult to see, but unmistably there, and a “flick” is simply an exaggerated and purposeful version of this.

Thus with any attack, there is a level of “flicking” involved, this is especially relevant where is comes to compound attacks (where a feint, of a “dummy” attack is thrown, and the blade is moved and launched from a different angle/manner) and parry-ripostes (where the natural parrying motion, especially parry six, or a “beat” naturally stores some elastic energy within the blade).

Thus, because even basic actions entail a level of “flicking”, and there being no way to both objectively AND pragmatically (more on this in a later section) distinguish between a “legal” flick and an “illegal” flick, that introducing regulations for such is unwise. Furthermore, because of blades flicking around anyway, especially when there is blade contact, then there are a large number of “accidental flicks” in any bout as well, especially in electrical foil. When a blade is parried, the very force of the parry causes the attacker’s blade to bend, and can often “whip around” the parry to land a flicking hit. This frequently happens in sabre, but also happens occasionally in foil.

These are:

  1. 1. Virtually impossible to confidently rule as a flick/standard hit
  2. 2. Will cause serious disruption if they were ruled to be invalid on the grounds of an unsound flick call

C2. Increases refereeing difficulty
Refereeing in fencing is ****ing hard and stressful as it is.[]In foil fencing, referees have a role of comparable importance to judges of a dancing competition, where points are rewarded or lost because entirely on referee’s decision at times (referees calls are required to separate out “simultaneous” hits), and given an already low contingency for mistakes (only one referee per match, and only two video replays challenges, if any) on the referee’s part – the last thing we need is to introduce yet more difficulty into a stressful, difficult and unrewarding job that is the fencing referee.

Referees are primarily charged with determining which fencer had “right of way”, which requires simultaneous attention to movement, footwork, and timing of arm extensions and judgement of blade contact – just to name a few. To outrule flicking would require the referee to also pay attention to the precise manner in which the blade landed.

C3. Flicks have a high skill barrier to be effective
Especially since the introduction of the new fencing timings, flicks require a high level of skill to connect. Merely whipping the blade and hitting is insufficient to score a hit, since the tip needs to be depressed on its target for a minimum of 13-15 milliseconds (as opposed to the old 1-5 milliseconds pre-2005) to register on the electronic equipment. To execute an effective flick, one needs to factor in the built-up tension within the blade, where your opponent is going to be on the flick, and matching up the timing of where the tip will be when approaching the opponent. Unlike the traditional point-in-line attack, where one could lunge with their eyes closed and be guaranteed to be aiming at target area, far more factors come into play with successfully landing a flick attack in foil.

Thus, novice fencers, those are most liable to cause the most safety issues, seldom use it as a hitting technique (since it is completely ineffective and hence a losing manoeuvre). This is akin to a novice tennis player attempting to perform a backhand slice/dropshot, or an overarm power-serve – they will lose unless they attain a high level of skill with either technique – a far higher level of skill than is required for more traditional maneuvers (underarm serve, backhand return).

Furthermore, because it is a high level fencing technique, then prohibiting it would deprive high skilled fencers of a valuable tool of their repertoire that they have rightfully earned with sufficient practice.

C4. Flicks are a solved problem
In foil fencing, the vast majority of hits are still not flicks, which even with its ability to evade parries, or to hit previously inaccessible target area, is a testament to the difficulty of the technique and also the efficacy of more traditional fencing techniques. Since the 2005 change in fencing timings the effectiveness of flicking dropped to such a level that previously world champion fencers were struggling to stay within the top 100.

Debate Round No. 2


I appreciate Pro posting up some of the basics of fencing, such visual presentation goes a long way for helping both the casual reader and experienced fencer to "pick up" the discussion points.

With regards to the Preface put forth, it is agreed on all suggested points.


A note on the picture: a Flick performed on the "rear torso". Such a flick seems to be landing, however, just above the armpit, and snagging the lame (Frenchy sword fighting word for "Jacket"). Such is the nature of flagellating your opponent, and misusing a weapon of a specific purpose.

As it stands, the FIE is the governing body on the matter of what stays and what goes in the sport fencing, and they recently adopted various changes to their rules, mostly being how long weapon tip to target must be maintained for a point to be scored (that duration went up), and how long a fencer has to make an "in time" attack in return before the electronic scoring equipment "locks" them out from a touch being scored. The FIE recognized a problem, and took steps to mitigate it, hoping the use of the Flick would disappear: such an attack simply couldn't hold contact long enough to score. To the FIE's credit, such a ruling worked. Mostly. The law of unintended consequences took over, preventing straight forward attacks from scoring, due in part to what nature of what under-armor a fencer might be wearing. Were Con to take a stab (PUN!) at guessing why such a rules change was adopted, I would recommend my opening set of arguments. Con has no disagreement here.


"Note that the flick can accomplished from many different circumstances, while the flick can be performed as a direct attack (used instead of the traditional “lunge with point-in-line”), it can also be used in a parry reposté (one of the most standard & common defensive manoeuvres in foil fencing), with feint/compound attacks, and also in “beat”-attacks (another form of compound attack)."

Con has no disagreement here. The Flick can be thrown from any variety of advantageous direct attack, but much like any direct attack, it has Right of Way, provided the extension of the arm is maintained, and the weapons are clearly not Passe (carrying past the target without hitting).

"The problem with ruling out flicking as a valid touche, is that it is impossible to fairly and consistently rule."

Not necessarily. Again, Con's picture to the "Rear Torso" illustrates this. The attacker's hand is dead level (from the cameraman's perspective) to the defender's shoulder, and the blade has curved back 180 to the attacker. This makes "Point in Line" the arbitrator of what is considered a Flick and what isn't. I feel confident a judge could recognize the obvious problem with keeping the target in focus with such a hand position.

"Thus with any attack, there is a level of “flicking” involved,"

Whoa, full stop. With any attack, there is natural "bendiness" of the weapon. Such is unavoidable. This should not be used interchangeably with a Flick. It was previously stated that a Flick attack is "exaggerated and purposeful", i.e. not natural.

C2 Rebuttal:

Refereeing a match is quite difficult, however if we are immediately able to define a Flick as exaggerated, it seems to be that this is one immediate action that can be ruled out as an attack, that being it would have right of way only to nothing. That is a simplification, not a complication: one immediate variety of attack can be disqualified. More over, the referee need not consider where the blade landed or how, but where the hand is at the time of the touch. The electronics in a match handle whether or not the touch is in a scoring area. If a referee should notice this exaggerated motion, or should notice the attacker's arm extension is non-existent or reasonably would result in a passe situation, the call becomes much easier to make.

C3 Rebuttal:

A Flick landing in a match takes quite a bit of practice, however I question on whom and what the attacker in such a circumstance was practicing. I know from mine own club how that prevails, and its not nearly as complimentary as Pro would have us believe. I reiterate: that s*i* hurts when you do it wrong, and typically one will practice until one stops doing it wrong. This means you have spent hours snapping at your fellow club-mates to engage in a feat which the FIE is actively establish rules to dissuade. Even between two skilled opponents, a safety situation may present itself. One need go no further than the photo submitted in the first round. 2 inches higher, and the gentlemen on the picture's right is liable to loose a piece of his hairline around the nape of his neck. Assuming the attacker on the left is expirienced, that is a pretty callous disregard of the opponent to attempt such a thing. Assuming he is not so expirienced... well, novices don't throw Flicks, so I have been told.

C4 Rebuttal:

This immediately demonstrates that it was a problem, and without a more direct/comprehensive recognition, will continue to be so. Relying on cheap trick, something that the governing body of the sport is attempting to respectfully sweep under the rug, is all the argument that need be made.


Thanks Pro.


R1. Safety
T3h facts
The facts are in on this, and unfortunately for Con, they aren’t looking good for him. A review commissioned by F.I.E. which reviewed 9 studies on the causes of injuries in fencing found that virtually all injuries occur in foil fencing by only torso, arm, wrist and leg injuries.[]

They noted that other sports such as soccer and basketball incur injury of 50 and 31 times respectively more than fencing does. All nine studies found less than 4.4% of fencing injuries were head-related injuries (which would consequently include any and all flick-injuries to the head), and fiver out of nine studies found absolutely no evidence of head injuries incurring whatsoever.

That is not to say that flicking poses no risk to injuries in fencing – except that even if they did, then they would not be remotely of a significance enough to warrant prohibiting, since they:

1.Do not constitute an exaggerated source of injury
2.If it does constitute an exaggerated source of injury, then eliminating it would do virtually nothing to reduce the injury level in fencing (at most 4.4%, and most certainly much lower than that still) which is already massively (31-50x) lower than other socially acceptable mainstream sports.

Note that eight out of nine of these studies were performed before 2005, i.e. before the electronic timings were changed and hence flicking became much less popular – thus it is easily concluded that flicking would have an increasingly negligible effect if any on safety today.

T3h theory
Furthermore, the rear torso is currently legitimate target area in foil (if you hit someone in the back in foil, then you are eligible to score a point), and Pro’s point here is indiscriminate between types of head-injury risking attacks. I argue that any attack aimed at someone’s back is also liable to hit that someone’s back of the head (a great example of this is on the run-through of a fleche move, where after parrying, the defending foiling is permitted to make an attack on the passed opponent, who is virtually guaranteed to have their back turned on their opponent.

There are other circumstances where this is applicable too, such as when an opponent is ducking etc., and all of there run the same risks of hitting the head while intentionally targeting the valid target area of the back.

Thus I establish a counter proposal:

Invalidate the sensitive portion of the back as target area

This would be simply accomplished by redesigning fencing lames (similarly to how sabre lames are already designed with below the torso), and hence solve all these theorietical issues simultaneously. This proposal would be infinitely more sensible than universally and arbitrarily invalidating and entire repertoire.

Furthermore, flicks can attack any area, for example in a right vs left handed fencer, the flick can be used to more effectively hit the torso, with absolutely no risk of hitting the back of the head. Ergo Pro’s arguments do not work for other classes of flicks.

R2. Flicks surrender the right of way
This is not an argument for invalidating flicks – this is not an argument at all. Since all attacks that lose/surrender right of way are still valid touches in fencing. For example if somebody makes an attack with a bent arm, they surrender right of way, however if they land on target and their opponent misses (which is very common at all levels of fencing), then those attacks will still score. Pro’s argument would be to invalidate each and every attack outside of right of way (which from experience is a lot of them). A common tactic in fencing is to hit your opponent with a counter attack in such a manner which would cause your opponent to “time-out” even though they have right of way. We would be destroying an entire way-of-fencing by invalidating attacks they do not have right-of-way, which would seriously cut the level of variety, and ironically make it even more of a game of “electronic tag” as Pro objects to.

Valentina Vezzali is probably the most successful fencer of all-time, and one of the most successful olympic athletes of all-time with six gold medals spanning five separate olympic games - yet her fencing style is predominantly all about surrendering the right of way in an effort to defeat her opponent with brute timing.[]
Pro would be turning the game of fencing completely upside down (I can’t imagine the uproar this would cause between fencers and the F.I.E. - they would get lynched!) with his proposal here, and hence needs to be discarded.

R3. The Flick is “Out of Time”.
This, exactly like C2, is not an argument against invalidating the flick as a touch. At best it is only an argument for flicks to not have right-of-way. These are not remotely synonymous. If I make a flick attack, and my opponent has right of way and does not land his hit, then my flick will still be valid regardless.

R4. The Nuts and Bolts of a Flick
Fencing is long since divorced from its ideological origins – and I see no argument for why we ought to strive to maintain ideologies. All sports are dictated by equipment, and fencing is no different. There was no such thing as electronic scoring in traditional times, yet there is virtually no contest that fencing ought to go back to the classical purely judged style of fencing. With it all the consequences of electronic fencing were accepted. If foil fencing was anything like its ancestry would dictate, then virtually every fencer would be dead – since no fencer using “sharps” would survive the suicidal counter-attacks that are frequently made today (which now score favourably for the counter-attacker due to electronic time-out. Nor would people be remotely as willing to be aggressive as they are in foil and sabre today.

The fencing sport of epee is frequently chastised within the fencing community for being slow-paced, boring to watch, boring to referee – yet epee is probably the closest to how fencing was traditionally done in early years. It was so bad that F.I.E. was forced to recently change the rulings on non-combativity, in an effort to make the sport more watchable. Nobody wants to watch people bouncing around for 3 minutes, afraid to attack the other “traditionally” while risking being hit with traditional and easy defences.[]

Fencing is not today, and very dubiously was in the past, about the “point-in-line”, fencing is far too rich and complex to be rendered that simplistic. Even if we completely eliminated flicking – foil fencing would still be nothing like its ancestry as Con wishes it to be.

R5. Anecdote

“That *h*t hurts when you do it wrong.”

So does any fencing move. I am sure Con has suffered the displeasure of a novice fletching (a running attack) at him with his full-body weight with a brand new foil such that it doesn’t bend and hence the full 10+stone of person is focussed on a single narrow spot. THAT sh*t hurts! Yet do we see fencers calling to see the fleche banned? No.

This is ironic since fleches actually have the potential to cause fatalities (usually via. a blade snapping and hence a sharp edge being prone to run an opponent through), wheras a flick is dubiously so. Only sevn fatalities have been recorded since 1937, and six of them were as a result of broken blades. []

Fencing hurts when it is done wrong yet, yet this is something that fencers accept when they get on the piste, and a study on “sources of pain” in fencing would yield virtually identical results to the aforementioned study on fencing injuries – flicks are a very minor source of “pain inductions” in fencing – and pure theory is not enough to establish otherwise.

Debate Round No. 3


Ever read a 40$ reply? You are now.

In the course of this discussion, we have touched on both salient, and diversionary points from the immediate situation at hand.

Safety: common sense indicates you guard what is reasonable, and you shoot for what is both reasonable, and reasonably protected. Pro has done me a favor, and refuses to acknowledge it. Lower torso/armpit. This variety of strike would not be present should fencers not shoot for it. The inception of the back of the torso was from passe attacks, that being the person being run past had a resort in which to execute an attack before a judge ruled the situation to a halt. This ties into "spirit" of the game.

Right of Way: in all sports, we assume intention to a goal. Fencing is no different, but in all sports, accidents may score. Fencing is no different. That doesn't mean your opponent, in such a circumstance as the sport of fencing, should be denied a direct attack "locked out" or otherwise, from what the Flick can accomplish by means of its use. This lends itself to being Out of Time.

Spirit of the Game: Blunt weapons, and springy weapons have enabled us to move past the nasty death and bleeding out. Its what turned from "Blood Sport" to "Sport". The question about fencing is whether or not current fencing can match its origins. If the Flick inhibits that, we have our answer. If the Flick encourages this argument, Con concedes.

Anecdotal: A weapon's natural springyness is inherent in an attack. There is no reason to assume such is exhausted. More over, there is no reason to have exhausted it through any means of regular attack, that being an attack that does not immediately negate itself after being thrown. Anecdote, fortunately, gives me lee-way. Being run at affords me the ability to do something about the attack. I am deeply sorry that Pro has been run at by novices, and not able to do something about it. I am deeply sorry that the immediate point in line of their attack was delivered so quickly that it was confounding, as opposed to being delivered via where they specifically were not attacking to.

Now, I apologize that I was not able to deliver something more forth coming for my last, but extend that was dropped (if the reader's deem such to have occurred), but... forty dollar reply. Good luck to my opponent, and Happy Father's Day to our reading audience.


I thank Pro for this short and fun debate. If we ever meet on the piste I will ensure that he leaves it looking like a Christmas tree *evil laugh*.

Summary & Defence of Positive Case
C1.Defining a “flick” is subjective
Note that he photo I provided is an extreme flick example, the vast majority of flicks are nowhere near this obvious. Furthermore, it was never my contention that all flicks were unrulable, only that what defines a flick is subjective. Pro appeals to the point-in-line being the arbiter, but ignores that the videos of foil fencers, fencing regularly with no flicks, makes such a position untenable, since even a “point-in-line” has a tonne of flexing and bending of the blades which makes naïve judgements impossible.

Furthermore, Pro drops my arguments that a referee judging more marginal cases is going to have a much harder time, and that it would inevitably lead to many unfair referee calls (and in fencing, not making a call is just as harmful as making a call, since not making a call indirectly penalises the opposing foilist) in an already stressful and sensitive environment.

Pro between the lines concedes that there is a large level of subjectivity in determining what a disqualifiable “flick” is – which is enough to establish this contention. Voters need only weigh the impacts here.

C2.Increases refereeing difficulty
Con’s rebuttal here ignores the context and bulk of my argument on the number of factors that a fencing referee already has to deal with. Con never contests here that adding this ruling would increase refereeing difficulty (which was the point of my contention) – he has only disputed its impact.

We already have problematic capacity for errors in judging to adversely impact the result of a duel – so why should we make a problem (which Con has not contested exists) worse>

C3. Flicks have a high skill barrier to be effective
Con has dropped my arguments that prohibiting flicking would remove a valuable part of a high-level foilist’s repertoire – which is already an impact by itself. If we banned the backhand slice from the game of tennis, then I don’t think it takes much argument that this negatively impacts the game from a technical and spectator’s point of view.

Con brings up the issue of safety, which I had already addressed with data in my previous round as unfounded. Empirical facts trump theory and speculation. There are more technical reasons why injuries from flicks are unlikely, but I can no longer present new material. Please note that the data I presented both encompasses injuries in practice (which constitutes nearly 3/4 of all fencing injuries) and fencing in tournaments. Thus his arguments against injuries in practice (in order to flick more effectively) must directly contend with this.

C4. Flicks are a solved problem
Con drops my points that the change in fencing timings essentially solved the problem of flicking (which was not a problem for the reasons Con posits). The fact that something is a problem doesn’t mean that the something needs to be eliminated.

Summary of Rebuttals & Negative Case
R1. Safety
While I understand that Con could not present new material to counter my rebuttals here, I will extend my previous rebuttals. They factually disprove Con’s position on safety. Given that this is Con’s only real substantive contention, then without this Con’s case falls apart.

Furthermore, one must also consider the knock-on effects of assuming back-of-the-head safety as a sufficient cause for prohibiting the flick, since other traditional fencing moves have a risk of in theory causing the same injury, or worse (since flicks can virtually never cause a fatal injury via. broken blade).

R2 & 3. Right of Way &Out of Time
I feel I have sufficiently demonstrated that these contentions do not actually demonstrate what is required to fulfil the resolution. One could fully accept both these contentions but only be left with affirming that the rules need to be changed on the right-of-way regarding flicks, but not on prohibiting them altogether as valid touches. These contentions can be disregarded.

R4. Nuts & Bolts (Spirit of the Game)
Even if one fully accepts this contention – it is very low impact – since the spirit of the game I have already argued is plastic, and divorced from idealism, and has changed significantly over time. Also I have argued that the original spirit of the game is factually false due to observations in epee (the only fencing weapon I had hardly fenced myself, for these exact reasons). Fencing is no longer about running your opponent through. Thus, this at best only provide a weak-impact arhument which clearly introducing referee bias, problems, and difficulty is not going to stand.

R5. Anecdote
The impacts of his anecdote need to be weighed against the alternatives. Pain from flicking is not exclusive to flicking, it is inherent to any fencing move done incorrectly (or even correctly, as my own anecdote attests). I have shown a double standard in Con’s anecdote as a result, since several acceptable actions now which indeed could have serious fatal consequences are not chastised. Thus, his anecdote is on dubious grounds.

While Con did have some important impacts to consider regarding safety, I have sufficiently shown these can be disregarded on a factual level. The next most important impacts I argue are whether or not it is fairly implementable, and I have sufficiently demonstrated this is not the case. Because my impacts outweigh’s Con’s impacts, even if Con’s contentions were valid and sound, voters ought to vote for Pro.

I thank Con for a very fun (and bankrupting) debate!

Debate Round No. 4
21 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Envisage 2 years ago
I think peer pressure is a good deterrent for flicks... I got so many dirty looks from my club-mates when you heard a massive *SMACK*, when I failed to flick my blade and it landed completely flat, along with a healthy transfer of energy to their skin.... Oops...

Also wrist injuries are a bitch too..

But yah... I am not sure where I really stand with regards to flicking. I am biased because I used it a lot compared with how much it was used against me - and I seldom had the experience of a novice club mate attempting it. I think most people learned to click as cadets, so they got all their bruises then, I didnt start until I was 20.
Posted by Envisage 2 years ago
Lol, sprry Faustin. I feel espectially bad given that you paid $40 for your last round...
Posted by FaustianJustice 2 years ago
"Reputation Vote!" XD
Posted by FaustianJustice 2 years ago
Yeah, forty dollar reply. Was on a a cruise, and between the time the wife needed for her data stuff at work to touch base, and my various stuff, it cost us 40 bucks for the WiFi time.

Bummer, which is also why my reply was a little hotter and shorter than I wanted.
Posted by Envisage 2 years ago
No. Out of time attacks still score if your opponent misses. You can make the most spastic aged attack and have zero right of way and still score if your opponent doesn't also land a hit.
Posted by Proving_a_Negative 2 years ago
If an attack is ruled out of time, does that make it null?
Posted by Nac 2 years ago
No problem.
Posted by Envisage 2 years ago
Wow, thanks for the vote Nac. I was getting pessimistic that someone would vote on this.
Posted by Nac 2 years ago

Ergo, this point stands.

4. FIE is attempting to solve this problem - Con merely states that this means that a problem exists, not that it has any effect. Con also drops Pro's assertion regarding the decrease in the popularity of the flick after the 2005 Timing Change, so this point remains.

Pro maintains 3 and 4.

Verdict: Although I will concede that Con's safety assertion would have the greatest impact if all contentions stood, Pro deftly dismantled the point. Because the points regarding the diminution of skill Con's proposal will result in and the minute nature of this problem still stand, Pro wins.

If there is an issue with my vote, please contact me.
Posted by Nac 2 years ago
To start, I would like to apologize if I fumble my reasoning. I have never touched a foil in my life.

Conduct: Both competitors displayed a friendly demeanor, even going so far as to playfully joke with one another. I have no complaints here.

S&G: Sadly, I found this to be difficult to follow, namely because of issues with Pro and Con confusing their positions. Specific examples of this can be shown in the final round, with Con stating a condition under which he will concede (Spirit of the Game, 5th sentence), and Pro stating that he concedes his own point (C1, 3rd paragraph, 1st sentence). No points awarded.

Sources: Seeing how Pro offered official statistics from studies and Con presented no sources, this goes to Pro.



1. Safety - The official statistics invalidate his theory. Because the precedent of opponent based falsification was agreed upon (Pro's preface) by both sides, Con's inability to address the statistics in any way invalidates this claim.

2&3. Right of way and Out of Time - Pro stated that removing the Flick for this reason would remove much of the versatility of the sport. This was not addressed by Con, meaning this point should be discarded. (I will note that Con did address the fact that it should not be given precedent over a direct attack (I think), but this does not address Pro's rebuttal.)

4. Spirit of the Game - Pro points out the minuscule impact of this point, in addition to countering by displaying the lacking popularity of epee, which Con does not address.

5. Anecdotal - This is refuted by the statistics and anecdotes of Pro.

Con maintains no arguments.


1&2. Difficulties accrued in judging and refereeing - Con significantly lessened the impact of this with his clear cut definition and means of judging, which Pro then noted was arbitrary. While this is true, little impact is derived here.

3. Skill - Con attacked this point on the grounds of safety, which has been refuted as part of
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Nac 2 years ago
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: RFD in the comments.