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Learn the Basics of Fencing to Avoid Getting Fenced In

Updated on May 8, 2011

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Learn the Basics of Fencing to Avoid Getting Fenced In

Sometimes fencing does not surround your property. The history of fencing as a sport has existed nearly as long as the history of swords themselves. Historians have traced the sport’s origins to fencing matches, whose images appear on an Egyptian temple’s wall. Additionally, other ancient peoples, such as the ancient Greeks and Romans, also practiced fencing as a sport. Ironically, after armor made swords virtually obsolete, firearms made armor obsolete and led to the reemergence of the sword.

The creation of the light and lengthy rapier sword resulted in the birth of modern fencing. Gentlemen would use fencing as a means of practicing for duels. While duels themselves became obsolete within time, fencing survived as a popular sport among gentlemen. Today, one can enjoy the ancient sport of fencing after obtaining an understanding of its basics, through means such as a fencing discussion forum:

Fencing Weapons

In the sport of fencing, three types of weapons represent three distinct types of fencing events:

A. Foil: This type of blade is the most popular one for novice fencers. The foil, which has a rectangular shape, is the lightest type of fencing blade. Fencers may only use the blade’s point in order to attack an opponent.

B. Epee: The epee contains a wide blade. Fencers can use the sword’s huge bell guard as a defense from attacks. In epee fencing matches the opponent’s entire body functions as a target.

C. Saber: The blade is shaped like a “Y” and contains a rolled tip. Fencing with sabers is unique as it is the only style in which one can attack with the full fencing blade.

Fencing Safety Equipment

In addition to the fencing sword itself, various types of safety equipment are instrumental for the sport of fencing. The fending mask includes interior padding to safeguard your head, and a wire mesh face protects your face while allowing you to see outwards. Next, the fencing jacket is constructed of a heavy material, in order to protect the wearer from a fencing blade. Meanwhile, fencers wear a plastron underneath the jacket. It protects the fencer’s torso and back. Next, the fencing trousers are made of a thick material and cover the entire legs of the wearers. Finally, fencers wear a single fencing glove on the hand that grips the sword.

Fencing Fundamentals

Fencers compete against each other on a long, thin strip referred to as the “piste.” The two competitors move forwards and backwards on the piste. Fencing matches typically include three bouts, with players needing to score three of five points, in order to win each bout. Before each bout, the fencers completely extend their arms, with the tips of their swords nearly contacting each other. The fencers salute each other. Then with their back foot perpendicular to their front foot, the fencers begin their bout. Moving forward requires the fencer to move the front foot first. Meanwhile, moving backward requires him or her to move the back foot first.

As with other types of sports, fencing includes both offensive and defensive moves. The lunge is the basic attack in fencing. To perform this action, the fencer moves the front foot forward, and then uses his or her blade to contact the opponent. Afterwards, the fencer should return to the “starting” position, and prepare for the opponent’s riposte (counter attack).

Meanwhile, the parry is the basic defensive move in fencing. Keeping your arm straight, you should only move the blade to block the opponent. Then move the blade into the starting position. You can then lunge towards your opponent, performing a counterattack before he or she can return to the default position.

Fencing Target Areas

When performing offensive moves in fencing, the “target area” differs, depending on the type of fencing sport. In foil fencing, the opponent’s torso is the exclusive valid target area. To hit the target area, you must put enough pressure on the opposing fencer. The bending of the blade or the alarming of a special jacket indicates that a fencer has achieved this objective.

Throughout its lengthy history, the sport of fencing has evolved. Today, one can enjoy fencing by using numerous variations, such as by using replica swords. Master these aforementioned basics of fencing, to avoid getting fenced in!


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