The Parts Of A Foil Fencing Sword: From Blade To Bayonet
The foil fencing sword
You've decided to take up foil fencing and want to know the parts of your foil, which is what we'll discuss in this article.
Fencing is categorized by the class of weapons -- the foil, épée, and sabre. We're concerned with the foil weapon because it's most suitable for a beginner.
Don't point! It's not polite.
A foil fencing sword is a flexible, slender weapon that comes in two versions: an electrically-scored foil and non-electrically-scored foil.
Both foils contain similar parts, including the blade, bell guard, pad, and grip.
The end of the blade -- the foible -- is very flexible, and the forte, which is the blade portion closest to the swordsman, is strong and not as bendable.
After the blade is the bell guard; this protects your hand from attacks.
The bell guard has a pad within its concave portion to cushion your hand from banging into the bell guard.
Grips are personal and come in two types: the pistol grip and the French grip.
The pistol grip is held in the fashion of a pistol and comes in slightly different angles for comfort. The French grip is a straight grip with a slight curve; this is the grip most people associate with a sword.
The electric and non-electric foils end in a pommel, which is basically a nut that holds the blade, bell guard, pad, and grip together.
Collectively, the hilt is the term that defines the portion of a foil from the guard to the pommel.
Electric vs. non-electric foils
The non-electric foils, which are designed for practice, contain a blunted end with a plastic or rubber knob. Participants score manually.
The non-electric foil is typically what beginners learn on and is cost-effective if you purchase a starter kit. (They typically include the foil, mask, jacket, and glove.) You can start swashbuckling right away.
The electrical foil is typically for intermediate foil fencers interested in competition because it works in conjunction with an electronic scoring system.
Electrical foils contain a spring-loaded button assembly at the end of the foible. When the spring in the tip is depressed, it disrupts an electrical circuit. That circuit goes from the tip through a wire that runs within a hollow chamber of the blade to a socket -- also called a bayonet -- hidden behind the guard.
The socket is a connector that plugs into a cord attached to an electrically conductive lame, which is connected by a wire to a scoring system that lights when a fencer scores.