What Is Fencing?

Fencing is a sport that combines the physical and mental strengths of each participant. Not only do strength, speed, and coordination matter in a fencing bout, but so do the planning and quick-thinking of the fencer.

There are three different weapons, each with their own rules and unique style.

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In epee, points are scored with the tip of the blade. The entire body is target area. Whoever touches first scores, and if fencers score simultaneously they both receive a point. Epee fencers are famous for their patience and thoughtful attacks.

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In foil, touches are scored with the tip of the blade. The target area is only the torso, marked by a silver electric vest (called a lame) that registers when a touch is scored. Foil observes a set of rules called “right of way,” which determine who is awarded a point when both fencers touch. Foil is considered both the most elegant weapon and the middle ground between the other two.

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In saber, points are scored with the tip or the sides of the blade, and the target area is from the waist up. Saber fencers wear a long-sleeved lame to register touches electronically. Saber also observes right of way, and is known for its speed and rigor.

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