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In ancient times a more basic form of competitive fencing was very popular already. The development of fencing found its’ climax in when duels were an accepted way to solve conflicts. Today fencing is a established sport. Fencing in the form that we know today (also called modern fencing to distinguish it from historical fencing), derives from duels held in ancient times that were held to resolve conflicts. Modern fencing originated in the 18th century, as a continuation of the French school of fencing, influenced by the Italian school.

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  • Foil – a light thrusting weapon, which is meant for targeting the torso and the back, but not the arms. To score with a foil, the competitor has to touch the opponent with a tip, hits with the side of the blade do not count.

  • Sabre – a light cutting weapon, which is used to target the entire body above the waist, excluding hands. Hits with the edges of the weapon are accepted and valid. As in case of foil, hits outside the target area are not scored.

  • Épée – the heaviest thrusting weapon of the three, targeting the entire body. Only hits with the tip of the weapon are scored. Unlike foil or sabre, Épée does not use right of way, which allows simultaneous hits by both competitors.

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Forms of fencing

  • Olympic fencing is the most common form of fencing, as it is used in most competitions, including Olympic Games and the Fencing World Cup. The rules are regulated by the Fédération Internationale d'Escrime (FIE). The weapons include foil, sabre and épée.
  • The American governing body is the United States Fencing Association (USFA) and athletes who want to compete in tournaments have to register through a website ( There are three major tournaments in the US - North American Cups, Junior Olympics and Summer National Championships.
  • Wheelchair fencing is a Paralympic sport developed in England after World War II. The fencers use standard weapons and compete on slightly modified FIE rules.

bet365Mandatory gear

Fencers are obliged to use a wide assortment of protective gear in order to guarantee absolute safety. The protective clothing consists of:

  • Mask with a bib protecting the neck
  • Form-fitting jacket covering groin
  • Plastron, which protects the underarm
  • One glove for the weapon arm
  • Breeches / knickers, usually with suspenders
  • High socks
  • Shoes with flat soles
  • Plastic chest protector (mandatory for female fencers),

Traditionally, the uniforms worn by fencers are white (black for instructors).

Tournament formats

The competitions held in fencing vary in format; they can be either team or individual. In high-level tournaments men and women compete separately, but in case of lower levels mixed-gender competitions are quite common. An individual fencing event is divided into pools and direct eliminations. Usually a fencer is assigned into a pool of total 7 competitors, and every fencer has to compete against everyone else in the pool. When all matches are complete, all fencers are ranked and the direct eliminations start. The highest ranked fencers receive a bye, whilst the lower ranked ones have to fight for the right to compete them.


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