What is Fencing?

Fencing is the sport of fighting with swords. The most common version of fencing today, also called olympic fencing or competitive fencing, is divided into three weapon categories: foil, sabre and épée.

Object

The main object of a fencing bout (what an individual “game” is called) is to effectively score 15 points (in direct elimination play) or five points (in preliminary pool play) on your opponent before he scores that number on you. Each time a fencer scores a touch, she receives a point. Direct elimination matches consist of three three-minute periods.

The Weaponsweapons

Foil, épée and sabre are the three weapons used in the sport of fencing. While it is not unusual for fencers to compete in all three events, they generally choose to develop their skills in one weapon. Until recently, women were permitted to compete only in foil, but now the USFA & FIE offer national competitions for women in épée and sabre. Women’s épée was added to the World Championships in 1989 and was held for the first time at the Olympic Games in 1996.

Foil and épée are point-thrusting weapons. Sabre is a point-thrusting as well as a cutting weapon. The target areas differ for the three weapons, though all three are scored electrically.

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