Fencing is a popular modern
sport, for all participants of all ages. This includes the disabled
athlete. Anyone from 8 to 80 years can compete and enjoy the sport for
recreational purposes. Agility, fast reactions, and tactical thinking
are the prime requirements for fencers.
The sport of aristocracy and the stuff of
romance – fencing today is the culmination of a centuries old art and it
accessible to everyone.
Epee evolved from the duelling sword, favoured by
duellists of the time. It therefore follows
that in modern fencing, the whole body is valid target area for epee, and that
the basic rule of engagement is that the first to hit his or her opponent, has
scored. Training for sword fighting (for duelling or combat purposes)
concentrated on thrusts to the torso, where hits would have the most lethal
effect. This training led to the development of blunt safe weapons and protective
clothing, which are now applicable
to the sport of fencing.
foil, which is lighter than the epee, was developed as a training weapon so as to prepare the person for an encounter on the field of honour.
The discipline for foil fencing was established, with
specific rules of engagement which replicated the type of combat likely to be encountered, but still limited the chance of a serious injury occurring.
Sabre fencing evolved from swordsmanship on horseback, where cuts as well as point
thrusts could be effective. The opponent’s body above the saddle was most
vulnerable, and thus this part of the body evolved into the "valid" target area. Similar rules of
engagement as for foil were developed, where a fencing phrase typically
consists of an attack, a defensive action and counter-attack, with many variations around
evolved from the days of duels, fought to the death or first blood, and
from the traditions of the sabre-wielding cavalry. From these origins,
the use of lethal weapons in combat has evolved into the art of fencing,
which comprises the 3 disciplines of foil, epee, and sabre.