Fencing is one of those sports. You know what I mean- it's kind of cool and kind of geeky at the same time.

Fencing is sword fighting with rules, with a very long history of many thousands of years. It began with soldiers fighting in war with swords. Rules were made later, and matches held with blunt swords.

It is a competitive sport in the Olympic Games- it has been in every modern Olympics.

Three Weapons

There are three weapons in fencing, the foil, the epee and the sabre. Real fencers will get narky if you call the weapons swords!

The different weapons are different events- like discus throw, javelin and short put in athletics. No, you can't use a sabre to fence an opponent using a foil!

Scoring and Rules

The aim of fencing is to score points against your opponent. In foil and epee, you must score using the tip. You can hit and score with the side of the sabre. Matches are to five points if you are in the pools. Matches are to fifteen points in the elimination rounds.

The events have different rules. For example, there is the right-of-way-rule in foil and sabre. The fencer who attacks first and hits will score the point.

Target Area

Different events have different target areas. The fencer must hit the target area to score a point. If they hit the off-target area, the point is not scored. The target areas are blacked out.

Foil Epee Sabre
Target area is the chest, stomach and back. Target area is anywhere! Target area is anywhere from the waist up.
Images courtesy of www.usfencing.org


Here we have some videos of fencing.

In these matches, the scoring machine lights up red if the fencer on the left hits. The light is green if the fencer on the right hits. The light is white if the hit is off-target.

Click on picture to see movie.

Foil video (0.9 MB) Epee video (4 MB) Sabre video (0.7 MB)

Images courtesy of Queensland Amateur Fencing Association.
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References & Sources

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