The Sport of Fencing


Fencing, which is also known as modern fencing to distinguish it from historical fencing, is a family of combat sports using bladed weapons. Fencing is one of four sports which have been featured at every one of the modern Olympic Games. Fencers take part in foil, épée and sabre events - the three events are named after the different types of weapons used in fencing.


Foil: This is a light thrusting weapon that targets the torso, including the back, but not the arms. Touches are scored only with the tip. Hits with the side of the blade do not count and do not halt the action. Touches that land outside of the target area (off target) stop the action and are not scored. Only a single hit can be scored by either fencer at one time. If both fencers hit at the same time, the referee uses the rules of right of way to
determine which fencer gets the point.

Sabre: This is a light cutting and thrusting weapon that targets the entire body above the waist, except for the hands. Hits with the edges of the blade as well as the tip are valid. As in foil, touches which land outside the target area are not scored. However, unlike foil, these off-target touches do not stop the action and the fencing continues. In the case of both fencers landing a scoring touch, the referee determines which fencer receives the point for the action. 

Épée: 'Epee' is French for 'sword'. This is a heavier thrusting weapon that targets the entire body. All hits must be with the tip and not the sides of the blade. Touches hit by the side of the blade do not halt the action. Unlike foil and sabre, Epee does not use right of way and allows simultaneous hits by both fencers. However, if the score is tied at the last point and a double touch is scored, nobody is awarded the point.