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En Garde! An Introduction to Fencing  - view for yourself  En Garde!  

The Sport of Fencing

Although fencing over the centuries has changed from a deadly combat to a complex game, the speed of movement and intricate strategy of duelling are still very much part of the modern day sport.

Today's is a modern combative sport. It's a challenge both physically and tactically between two opponents. A game that's extremely fast requiring both cunning and a high degree of fitness. Fencing resembles squash in its athletic demands and approaches chess in its tactical depth.


How it's Played

The object of the game is to score touches on your opponent. They are scored only when they land on the target, which is the opponent's torso. Off-target touches stop the bout but are not scored. Usually the first to score five touches, wins the bout.


Due to the speed of fencing, touches are registered electronically. When a valid touch is scored, on comes a coloured light on the side of the fencer who made the touch. When a touch is registered off-target, a white light is shown on the side of the fencer who scored that touch.

Scoring Light Box

The game is played by a system of priority. To score, you must first obtain priority. The first fencer to start extending the arm straight, while threatening his target, has the priority. When two touches are scored at the same time, regardless of who's touched first, only the fencer with the priority scores the touch.

Making a Line

When you are attacked, you must defend or parry the attack. This parry gives you the priority to hit back, called the riposte. It's this priority system that gives fencing its sequences of attack and defence is practiced over and over again, so that the fencer is constantly aware of the changing priority, and can eventually achieve split-second control of his/her reactions.




Parry, Riposte

With such a well-designed system of defence, you need more than just physical speed to score touches. By bluffing and faking, you have to somehow provoke and deceive this system of defence. You have to fake, to convince your opponent you intend to attack, and when he/she attempts to parry, you deceive to score.


Scoring touches in fencing is more than just a matter of physical speed, its a matter of tactics. Tactics are based on the fact that every attack can be parried, but every parry can be deceived! Fencing is a sport that not only physically taxes the body for split-second control of attack and defence, but also incorporates tactical cunning, to fake and mislead, in an attempt to outsmart your opponent. Tactics are as simple or as complex as each opponent, and those tactics can change in the course of a bout. It's this uncertainty that creates the challenge and the excitement of this combative, modern Olympic sport.

Fencing, a match of mind and body.

It's a game !

It's a sport !

It's a challenge !




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Date Last Modified: 07 May 2017