Fencing Language In “I Love You, Man”

In 2009, a movie came along that I found utterly hilarious.  What tickled me even more was that the main character fenced!  (Something we have in common).  And just like The Princess Bride, screenwriter and director John Hamburg decided to add some fencing dialogue… something that us fencing nerds soo relish to hear.  (Fencing Nerds, lets be honest!)  After the above pictured bout, in which Paul Rudd’s character Peter Klaven executes a mean In Quartata on his opponent Gil, (and Gil resorts to a mask throwing tantrum) they exchange these words:

Gil: Bro.  Really sorry I lost my #@$& out there.  I just did not see that In Quartata coming.

Peter: Hey man, don’t worry.  You know you came in with a pretty sweet glissade.

Eugene: Anybody seen my manchette?

Larry: Did you look under your plastron, #$&% wicker?

When I first heard this exchange, I (like Olympic silver medalist fencer, Tim Morehouse) didn’t even recognize some of those terms.  But after some research, I now have the answers that the both the fencing community (and possibly, the film-loving community) would love to hear.

An In quartata is an counter-offensive action made by an attackers attack to the high-inside line (only). You are moving your body ‘off-line’ a ‘quarter’ turn (watch clip above).

A glissade is actually not a sport fencing term per se, but rather a classical/historical sword-fighting term whereby you “glide/glissade” down the opponent’s blade in order to cause a parrying action.  The parry is swiftly met with a disengage to hit (with opposition).

A manchette is a special glove that is worn to protect the weapon hand.  Most fencers just call this “the glove,” however in fencing conversation (especially those that practice the saber/sabre) you might hear the term Coup de Manchette, which means “Cut to the arm.”

A plastron is a protective pad worn to protect the torso and side.  Most plastrons available cover 3/4 of the body, thus allowing your free arm to move with less restriction (and less protection).


* Paul Rudd : “I actually had fenced before this film.  In fact, the guy who oversaw the fencing in this film was my teacher 20 years ago.  Just kidding about that, but I have seen most of Errol Flynn’s movies.  That’s where I came up with ‘On guard that.'”


Coach Michael Joyce teaches classical foil fencing in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.  Mr. Joyce got his training at both the St. Louis University (1998, 1999) and University of NC-Greensboro (1999-2002) Fencing Clubs.  He has been teaching (fencing) professionally since 2005 and has a Foil Fencing Beginners Manual making its way to the shelves in December 2010.  Look for it here,ChenCenterStore.Com or at our Fencing Page – WSfencing.info


3 Responses to “Fencing Language In “I Love You, Man””

  1. D Achilleus Says:

    More specifically:

    the Inquartata is a counter-offensive offline action made against the enemy’s attack to the high inside line (only!).

    In other words, when the enemy attacks to the inside line, say via attack by disengage, you may choose to counter-attack via inquartata. However, it is not a stop thrust, or arrest. It is more closely related to the time thrust, only rather than relying solely on occupying the offensive line the inquartata uses the offline position to defend target.


  3. Quick point “plastron” in the sense used here is actually a contraction of “under-plastron” (It was still called that in my day).

    You can still buy “coach’s plastrons” which are the big thick outer protectors, worn over or instead of the jacket. The under-plastron is worn under the jacket.

    The underplastron is designed to be seamless at the spot where the jacket has a seam, so that if the sword pushes through the seam of the jacket, there is an unbroken sheet of penetration-resistant cloth between the sword and your skin.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: