Fencing Swords

Fencing or Olympic Fencing is a known sport where two participants battle against each other using rapier-styled weapons and the winning points of the sport is by making contact with the opponent. Fencing was among the very first sports in the Olympics; and based on the authentic abilities in sportsmanship, the sport became a favorite around the end of the nineteenth century. There are three forms of contemporary fencing and each of these are played with different rules while also utilizing unique styles of fencing swords.

 Fencing Swords

In this modern sport, there are three vital fencing swords utilized: the foil, épée, and sabre. When used for competitions, each of the weapons has its own set of rules and strategies; plus, a full set of fencing equipment necessary includes at least two swords, a white jacket, a Lame but not for the épée, underarm protectors, two mask and body cords, gloves, knickers, as well as knee high socks.

Foil

This is one of the three fencing swords utilized in the sport and it is made completely out of metal. The foil is flexible with a rectangular-shaped cross section and it is very light since it weighs less than a pound. Similar to the épée, points using the foil are scored by tip contact which in electrically scored tournaments, are set with a spring loaded button that will signal a touch to the opponent. The uniform worn by a foil fencer includes the lame and an electrically-wired vest to record any hits during the competition; additionally, the foil is the most commonly utilized fencing swords in the competition.

The foil is an extremely light thrusting weapon which may target an opponent’s torso (the back included), the groin, and also the neck; areas to be avoided are the legs and the arms. This weapon has a much smaller hand guard that fully protects its wielder’s hand from direct stabbing. The hand of an opponent is not a valid target when using this weapon and the hand guard is present simply for safety purposes; also keep in mind that touches are scored only with the tip of the weapon and hits via the foil’s side do not register on the scoring equipment.

Off-target touches do not hit the proper point and are signaled by a specific color on the scoring equipment. Off-targets instantly stop the action but keep in mind that these are not scored; only a touch can be given to each fencer at the end of a phase. However, if both participants land touches almost right at the same time and register two lights on the scoring tool, the referee will base the results on the rule “Right of Way” to determine which participant will be awarded.

Epée

 

 

 

 

As a thrusting weapon, this fencing equipment is similar to the foil except that its blade is more stiff and has a triangular cross section (the foil has a circular one); the épée is also heavier compared to the foil and weighs a total of 775 grams. For its bigger bell guard, it is shaped as a large circle that reaches all the way to the pommel which is an effective piece to protect and conceal its user’s hand; plus, it also features a V-shaped groove called the fuller. When utilizing the épée, there are no specific techniques or rules regarding priority and the right way, also, the whole body of an opponent is a valid target area when utilizing the weapon. All hits with the épée should be made using the tip, not the blade’s sides, and since the whole body is a valid target, there is no off-target touch with the épée. The only exception would be if one fencer strikes the floor by accident and sets off the tone and light on the scoring device. Keep in mind that the épée does not make use of the rule “Right of Way” and awards concurring touches to both participants; however, if there is a tie in a match right at the last point and there is a scored double touch, the point will be considered null and void.

Sabre

 

This sword is a light cutting weapon for thrusting that targets body parts above the waist except for the fencer’s hand. The saber is the newest weapon to be utilized in fencing and just like the foil, its maximum weight would just be five hundred grams. The sabre’s hand guard reaches from its pommel to the point where the blade links to its hilt; as for its guard, it is turned outward during competitions to protect the sword arm from random touches. For this weapon, hits with the point or the whole blade are valid, and just like the foil, touches that hit outside the target point will not be scored; however, compared to the foil, the off-target touches of the sabre do not stop the action and instead, the fencing match continues. When both of the participants target a scoring touch, the referee will determine which participant will receive the point through the rule, “Right of Way”.

Fencing Equipment

The complete fencing equipment includes the following items:

 

Jacket

The fencing jacket is a form-fitting piece with a strap (croissard) that goes between the fencer’s legs. A small gorget is sewn around the collar to prevent an opponent’s fencing sword from slipping beneath the mask towards one’s neck.

Plastron

This is known as an underarm protector utilized beneath the fencing jacket; it provides the wearer adequate protection on the sides of the upper arm and the sword arm.

Glove

The fencer’s hand is protected by a glove that features a gauntlet to prevent an opponent’s blade from reaching up and causing injury; the glove also helps the user improve their grip on the sword.

 Socks

Generally, these are long enough to conceal a fencer’s knee yet there are some socks that also cover most of the fencer’s thighs.

Mask

The fencing mask features a bib to protect a fencer’s neck and the mask should be able to support around 26 pounds on the metal mesh and about 79 pounds of penetrating resistance on the bib.

Breeches

Knickers or breeches are known as short trousers that reach just below the fencer’s knees. These are required to have at least an overlap of ten centimeters with the jacket. Most of the breeches are also equipped with braces / suspenders.

Chest Protector

These are made of plastic and are commonly utilized by female fencers, although there are times when male fencers use these too. Fencing instructors also utilize this fencing equipment since they are often hit during training compared to their students.

Shoes

These shoes feature flat soles and provide further protection on the inside of the back of one’s feet and the heel for the front feet. These reinforcements prevent the shoes from wearing off easily due to lunging.

Sleeve

These are usually worn by the master or an instructor to protect their fencing leg or arm.

Lamé

This is known as a layer of electrically conductive material utilized over a fencing jacket for sabre and foil fencing; it covers the whole target area and makes it easier to distinguish where the hit landed on the specific target spot. It is necessary to have a body cord since it registers the scoring during a fencing match; it links to the fencing sword then runs inside the jacket’s sleeve, then down the back and out to the score box.