Fencing Weapons

The Sabre

  • The Sabre
  • The sabre is a cutting and thrusting weapon that has its origins in the cavalry sabre of the seventeenth century. Attacks can be delivered with both the edge and the tip of the blade. Oddly, it is the lightest modern fencing weapon. As in foil, an attack with right-of-way in sabre competition has priority over an attack without. Sabre fencing is characterized by quick footwork, and fiery blade actions.

    The Epee

  • The Epee
  • The épée is the heaviest of the three modern fencing weapons. It is a thrusting weapon, based closely on the duelling swords used until the beginning of the twentieth century. The convention of right-of-way does not apply to épée; whoever hits first scores. This leads to far simpler actions than are found in foil or sabre, as fencers try to make swift, uncomplicated attacks to open target on their opponent. Also, counter-attacks (attacks made after an opponent begins an attack) are far more common in épée than the other weapons.
    The entire body is valid target in épée competition, from the soles of the feet to the top of the head, and out to the tips of the fingers.

    The Foil

  • The Foil
  • A descendant of the 18th century small sword, the foil is a light thrusting weapon, meaning attacks can only be delivered with the tip of the weapon. Foil is fenced with the convention of right-of-way. Right-of-way is, simply, the right to attack. A fencer gains right-of-way by initiating an attack on an opponent. Since only one fencer can have right-of-way at a time, the opponent must parry, or deflect the attack before he or she may attack in return. This means that although a fencer may have hit an opponent first, the fencer may not be awarded a touch if the opponent had right-of-way.
    Foil target consists of the front torso and the back torso down to the top of the hips.

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