Styles of Fencing

Fencing as a kind of sports developed from a military training tradition back in the 18th  century. The fact that fencing was a nonlethal kind of training led a famous Italian fencer Domenico Angelo to establish a fencing school. There he would teach rich people, putting emphasis on the physical benefits of fencing. Nowadays, rules and postures established by this man are still used in modern fencing. There are three styles of fencing known today, distinguished by the type of weapon used:

  • Foil
  • Epée
  • Sabre

Each of them differs in terms of techniques used.

Differences of Styles

Foil is probably the most well-known weapon of all. It is designed in such a way that its form and a circular guard around it prevent the hand from being hurt. Neck, groin, and torso are usually the main targets in foil fencing. The point is to hit the target areas and not anything else; otherwise you will not get the points. If you hit with the side of the blade you do not get the points either even if you hit the target areas. Of the two fencers, the one that hits the target area wins. Fencing gear and foil swords are available for purchase in specialized shops and online.

Epée is a weapon similar to foil yet has its peculiarities. First, it is heavier than foil and has fluted edges. Epée swords have bigger hand guards that extend further for better protection. In epée fencing hitting any body part allows to score points. Similar to foil fencing, only hitting an opponent with a tip of a sword brings a score. Hits with the side of the blade do not bring points and do not count altogether. Unlike the foil, epée weapon is more dangerous as the design of the sword allows to make a thrusting wound.

Finally, sabre fencing is designed to thrust as well as to cut the opponent. The form of the hand guard is similar to that of foil and epée swords but has an extension that allows a better grip of the handle. The rules of this type originate in cavalry sabre fighting. This type of fencing allows hitting the entire torso area and arms. Only hands cannot be hit. Sabre style has less strict rules than the other two types. For example, when hitting outside of the target area you merely proceed fencing and are not required to stop.

All the three types of fencing are popular and widely practiced in many countries. Fencing is not a mainstream sports and may be an interesting hobby to take up. This type of sport will help to develop stamina, coordination, balance, and accuracy of movement.

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