- Fencng, the art of sword fighting, is a noble sport. It's "gentlemen's rules" continue today, beginning each bout with a salute and ending each bout with a salute and handshake.
While swords were once used in battle, they became sport after muskets and bullets replaced them on the battlefield. Modern sport fencing is very safe, thanks to the protective gear and technology used.
- Choose your weapon!
There are three weapons in fencing, each with it's own set of rules. Take the Red Rock Fencing Center Introduction to Fencing Class to try all three wepons. You may want to choose one to master or fence all three.
Also known as the "dueling sword," épée is a heavier blade with a strong bell garde (coquille) protecting the hand. It is a thrusting weapon, with hits made by the tip of the blade. Épée is the only weapon that does not have "right of way" and both opponents may score simulaneously. The entire body - head to foot - is a target in épée, although the goal is to hit your opponent's wrist or arm to maintain maximum distance.
This thrusting sword is light, and touches are scored only with the tip. Foil includes "right of way" rules that require the fencer who is attacked to first parry (defend oneself) before striking back. If both fencers score simultaneously, the bout Director must decide who had right-of-way and receives the point. Only the torso is a target. Touches landed on the arms, mask or other parts of the body do not count.
This lightweight "cutting and thrusting" sword also must follow "right-of-way" rules. Sabre moves quickly and fencers may score using the tip and the side of the blade, although most points are scored by slashing moves. The target area includes anything above the waist except the hands.
Whether you're inspired by Errol Flynn, Johnny Depp or Mariel Zagunis, become part of a noble tradition through the sport of fencing.
Don't let the "rules" and equipment intimidate you. Fencing basics are easy to learn and before you know it, you'll be suited up and fencing on the electronic strips. Feel free to come by and watch us fence to learn more .
Fencing bouts take place on a dueling surface known by the French word, "piste" or "fencing strip." It is made from metal, metallic mesh or another substance with a base that conducts an electrical current. The strip measures 14 meters long (46 feet) and 2 meters wide (6 feet, 7 inches).
The piste evolved from dueling, when combatants would draw lines in the dirt. Stepping behind one's line was considered cowardly.
Touches are scored electronically, which requires each fencer to have a body cord. The fencer's weapon is plugged into one end of the cord and the other end is plugged into the electronic scoring machine, which beeps and shows a red and/or green light when a touch is made.
Protective clothing is required for fencing. Fencers wear a mask, glove, underarm protector and jacket. We strongly recommend you also wear a plastic chest protector. Until you buy your own gear, you can rent gear and clothing from the Red Rock Fencing Center.