Q: I’ve seen fencing
in movies and on TV. Is that what real fencing is
A: The sport of fencing comes from the original use
of the weapons, Foil, Epee and Sabre. Sport fencing
is based on the rules of combat for that particular
weapon, and how it was used in battle or to defend
one’s self. Television, theatrical or stage combat
is designed to entertain and support the plot of the
story being told. The movements are larger, bouts and
matches take longer and the true use of the weapon
Q: What are the age groups/ different
A: Age groups are classified from Youth 10 (Y10) to Under
19 in the Junior Competitions. Competitors over 20 are
classified in the Senior category and athletes over 40
are considered Veterans, with Veterans World Championships
starting at age 50. Classifications are based on competitive
performance and range from U = unclassified, and then
E to A = highest classification.
Q: How can you tell who wins
a fencing match?
A: Bouts are scored in two ways. Preliminary bouts are
usually fenced to 5 touches. Elimination bouts are fenced
to 15 touches, except in the Veterans category (40 and
older), which is fenced to 10 touches. Each weapon has
a different target area and set of rules for scoring,
but they are all scored electronically. The referee makes
the final decision as to who wins the individual touches
in the bout. So, depending on the age group and round
of competition, the first person to get 5, 10 or 15 touches
Q: On the fencing scoreboard,
what do the different colors of lights represent?
A: The lights are assigned to each competitor. The competitor
on the right side will have one color light, and the
competitor on the left will have the other color light,
usually red or green. When a fencer hits his opponent
in a valid target area, his light will go on if the scoring
machine registers it within a predetermined time. The
time for each weapon varies and is programmed into the
scoring machine. In the case of bouts involving foils,
there is also a white light which registers if a touch “off
target” or off the valid scoring area.
Q: Is fencing an expensive sport?
How much does the equipment cost?
A: Fencing is not an expensive sport to get started in.
Group lessons through fencing clubs are very reasonable,
and rental equipment is usually available. A starter
set of equipment starts at around $125 US. As you advance,
competition equipment, private lessons and travel can
be more costly, but that is an option to be considered
only after you’ve been hooked on fencing like the
rest of us.
Q: What sword is best for me?
A: The choice of weapon is one of personal preference.
It depends on each individual’s personality type,
body size, access to coaches and caliber of opponent.
Traditionally, all fencers begin by learning the foil
and then will go on to sample other styles of fencing
before determining their favorite. Some fencers may
even choose to train in more than one style of blade.
Q: Does it hurt when you get
hit with a sword?
A: Usually not. It only hurts if you are wearing a jacket
(protective covering) that is too light, and/or your
opponent is hitting with a great deal of force.
Q: Do the rubber tips on the swords ever fall
say never.” However, there is no need to worry.
Though the rubber tip may come off on occasion in the
midst of a non-electrical bout or practice session,
the blade’s tip underneath is extremely dull.
Should a tip come off a competitor’s blade, the
action is stopped immediately and the tip replaced.