These are a series of guidelines I have compiled to keep in mind whilst fencing. Most are my composition, some were inspired by or borrowed from others. Attributions, where due, are at bottom.
Originally composed for heavy rapier and Cut-and-Thrust fencing in the SCA, I am sure they would prove useful in light rapier and (with some adaptation) modern fencing.
1. Pointy end goes into the other guy.
——1.1: Keep the other guy’s point out of you.
——1.2: Do unto him before he does unto you.
2. The other guy does not get a go.
——2.1: A person on the defensive cannot be offensive
——2.2: Do not press a lost advantage
——2.3: Do not concede a won advantage
3. Don’t play the other guy’s game.
——3.1: Know your game.
4. Have a Plan.
——4.1: Have a back-up plan, because the first one might not work.
5. Always bring your A-game.
6. Everyone has something to teach you.
7. Everyone can beat you.
8. Don’t get cocky.
9. Don’t look at the fish.
10. Practice using both hands.
11. Don’t break your friends.
12. Be unpredictable.
——12.1: Only set up a pattern to break it.
——12.2: Expect the unexpected.
13. Know your limits.
——13.1: Extend your limits.
14. Don’t stop fighting until you hear “Good” or “Hold”. (The “Pieter Principle”)
15. Don’t lead with your head.
——15.1: Don’t parry with your face.
16. Don’t throw a shot that has no purpose.
——16.1: Feints should have teeth.
17. Just because it works for someone else does not mean it will work for you.
18. Neglect not thy off-hand.
19. Never line up in measure.
20. Never drop your guard.
——20.1: ESPECIALLY when you’re in measure.
21. Fight the fight in front of you.
22. Always bring your own cup.
23. Don’t play with your food.
24. Don’t pose.
25. Buckler covereth a multitude of sins.
26. If your opponent is in dagger range, so are you.
27. Fight on the balls of your feet.
28. Make friends with the monster.
29. Don’t let your ego write checks your swords can’t cash. (The “Aurelia Rule”)
30. Don’t fight hurt. (The “Avery Rule”)
31. If you’re not having fun, you’re doing it wrong.
And finally, Andreas’ 0th Rule of Fencing: Don’t be That Guy.
Glutera Gnostyl and Baron Adam Comyn (CBR) for Rule 1.
Master Christian Fournier (CBR) for Rule 2.
Don Sebastian Frobishire for Corollary 2.1
Warder Cecil du Pont for Rule 5.
Captain H. Solo for Rule 8.
Master Alexander de Seton (CBR) for Rule 9.
Warder Lleng “Groupie” Craidd for Corollary 12.1
Viktor von Vukovar for Corollary 12.2
Barón Alejandro Ramirez for Corollary 13.1
Many Ansteorrans (including Barón Alejandro Ramirez Mendoza, Don Sebastian Frobishire, and Mushir Abd al-Mahdi Jamal ibn Hakim) for Rule 16.
Baron Antoine de Buil for Corollary 16.1.
Baron Duncan Hepburn (OWS) for Rule 17.
Maestra Amalia Zavattini for Rule 18 and 21.
Rule 4, Corollary 4.1, and Rule 20 are borrowed from “USMC Rules For Engaging in a Firefight”, as posted to the Armour Archive by Damon.
Duke Aaron MacGregor for Rule 23.
Rhianna for Rule 28.
Gräfin Amelot Lisette (OWS) for Rule 29.
Alric Godwynson for Rule 30.
The “Pieter Principle” is named for Professor Pieter van Doorn.
The “Aurelia Rule” is named for Aurelia Wilhemina Ruhlander.
The “Avery Rule” is named for Don Avery Shaw.
Ed. Note: I’ve rearranged and renumbered this list a few times, and may have some of the attributions out of order. If you’re listed here and and are acknowledged by the wrong rule, please let me know.