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.

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.

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.

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.