How To Fence
You love swash-buckling motion pictures and after watching “Pirates of the Caribbean” you now want to learn how to fence. Fencing is a sport as ancient as the Bronze Age. While dueling is not longer a life-or-death situation, fencing is an aggressive sport and not for the faint of heart. You need stamina, agility and quick thinking to outwit your opponent.
- Equipment essentials. You absolutely need a wire-mesh mask to protect your face. A sword which is a foil, épée or saber. Fencing jacket, glove, and vest if you use a foil. If you’re a woman you’ll need a breast protector.
- Choose your sword. If you really want to learn how to fence you must start off with a weapon of choice. Foil is a light-weight thrusting weapon with right-of-way rules in order to score a point, target area is the vest. Epée is also a thrusting weapon, no rules but who hits the opponent first scores a point, entire body is the target. Saber is a slashing weapon also with right-of-way rules. The target zone for saber above the hip and waist of the body.
- Piste is your attack ground. Every sport has a field of play and for fencing it’s called a “piste.” The strip is 46 feet long and 6 ½ feet wide. Step outside the strip and it’s a penalty.
- Scoring a point. The tip of the foil and épée have an electronic sensor that lights up a meter board to show which fencer touched the opponent first. In how to fence with a saber the weapon must be able to read a touch even with the sides of the blade as it is more of a chopping weapon.
- Attack and counter attack. This takes years of practice as you develop combat skills. How to fence takes an understanding of quick movements, instinctual skills and fast reflexes. To attack is called parry to counter attack is called a repost.
- Bouts. Points can accumulate to 5, 10, or 15 depending on the tournament or sparring of fencers. How to fence in modern era everything is done electronically. Your weapon is wired to a meter and the first to touch the target legally or illegally shows up on the board. To start a bout someone may shout, “Ready, Fence!” and to stop, “Halt!”
Fencing is one of four sports that has been part of the Olympic Games since 1896. While fencing looks easy in the movies, learning how to fence takes a tremendous amount of mental determination, strength in your legs to lunge and quickness of foot. If you’re ready to fence, choose your weapon and “En Garde!”