Fencing is actually a group of three closely related combat sports. The three disciplines covered in modern fencing are foil, sabre, and épée; each of these disciplines uses a different type of weapon to hit the opponent. When you look at a fencing event, you’ll notice that the point of the game consists of two people, either of them, attacking each other with the same weapon. The weapons used by the competitors will differ and will be determined by their age, height, and other factors.
In foil fencing there are six points which are marked by the use of a metal stick (or ‘point’) on one side of the body and a leather pad (the ‘hilt’) on the other. The hilt and the metal stick will be shaped differently to make each point unique. This is a very fast and intense sport and many of the younger competitors do not understand it properly. To make the game more interesting, there are several rules which govern the use of this weapon, including that it must not touch an opponent’s blade or face. It must also be kept within the bounds of the fencing court. After each fencer has been declared the winner, he or she must pay a fee, known as ‘droit de corps’, to the winner of the bout. This will usually include a number of bottles of wine and champagne as well as other gifts.
Sabre fencers have three points (marked by thin wooden poles) and must aim to hit the opponent with a single blow, but they must strike at a ninety degree angle. Espadrilles can have only one point, which is made of wood, but they are allowed to vary in length from two feet to ten feet. The sabre also has no protection against injury from swords or knives. To complete a bout, both fencers must cross their swords together over their right shoulder; this causes the sabre and the point of the foil to cross over. The other swords will then be used to block and parry the opponents. The last competitor of the match will win when he hits the opponent with the longest and most powerful thrust, known as a ‘parage’.