The stop thrust is the simplest type of counterattack, and
also the most misunderstood by beginning fencers.
In theory, the stop thrust is used to frustrate an
opponent who uses multiple feints while preparing his attacks. By thrusting against his attack, you
(hopefully) force him to either get touched or take a parry before he can
start his final thrust—it is then, essentially, an attack
into preparation. It can actually be
very useful against fencers who wind up and/or take wide, out of control feints
while preparing their attacks.
In reality, if Fencer A attacks Fencer B, and Fencer
B just kinda sticks his arm out in the middle of Fencer A’s attack, that’s
called a stop thrust too (or sometimes just a counterattack). It’s called
such because it’s improper fencing, but it still has to be officially classified
somewhere so that the Referee can recreate the phrase (describe what
happened). Beginning fencers are
notorious for overusing stop thrusts—mostly because they don’t know anything
else to do yet, so they just freeze up and wave their blades in the general
direction of their opponent whenever they find themselves being attacked.
And so, while in my mind I’m screaming, “PARRY! TAKE A PARRY! PLEASE! JUST ONE!” my
official call remains, “Attack left, counterattack right. Touch left.”
re: Stop thrust: that just sounds dirty :)