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Fencing Swords













































    So what about Rapiers?
    You may also see references to Rapier swords. These are the heavy, original 16th century swords that Foil and Epee swords were based on.
    So most of the Rapiers being sold are reproductions for collectors and for use in re-enactments. Probably not something you would actually want to fence with!



    Weapons[edit]
    There are three weapons in modern fencing: foil, épée, and sabre. Each weapon has its own rules and strategies.
    • Foil: a light thrusting weapon, with a maximum weight of 500 grams. The foil may target the torso (including the back), neck, and groin, but not the arms or legs. The foil has a small circular hand guard that serves to protect the hand from direct stabs. As the hand is not a valid target in foil, this is primarily for safety. Touches are scored only with the tip; hits with the side of the blade do not count, and do not halt the action. Touches that land outside of the target area (called an off-target touch) stop the action, but are not scored. Only a single touch can be scored by either fencer at one time. If both fencers land valid touches at the same time, the referee uses the rules of "right of way" to determine which fencer gets the point. If both fencers begin their attack at the same time, or the referee is unable to determine who was first, neither fencer scores a point.
    • Épée: a thrusting weapon like the foil, but heavier, with a maximum total weight of 770 grams. In épée, the entire body is valid target. The hand guard on the épée is a large circle that extends towards the pommel, effectively covering the hand, which is a valid target in épée. Like foil, all hits must be with the tip and not the sides of the blade. Hits with the side of the blade do not halt the action. As the entire body is legal target, there is not the concept of an off-target touch, except if the fencer accidentally strikes the floor, setting off the electric tone. Unlike foil and sabre, épée does not use "right of way", and allows simultaneous hits by both fencers. However, if the score is tied in a match at the last point and a double touch is scored, the point is null and void.
    • Sabre: a light cutting and thrusting weapon that targets the entire body above the waist, except the weapon hand. Like the foil, the maximum legal weight of a sabre is 500 grams. The hand guard on the sabre extends from pommel to the base of where the blade connects to the hilt. This guard is generally turned outwards during sport to protect the sword arm from touches. Hits with the entire blade or point are valid. As in foil, touches that land outside of the target area are not scored. However, unlike foil, these off-target touches do not stop the action, and the fencing continues. In the case of both fencers landing a scoring touch, the referee determines which fencer receives the point for the action, again through the use of "right of way".


    Techniques or movements in fencing can be divided into two categories: offensive and quickly defensive. Some techniques can fall into both categories (e.g. the beat). Certain techniques are used offensively, with the purpose of landing a hit on your opponent while holding the right of way (foil and sabre). Others are used defensively, to protect against a hit or obtain the right of way.
    • Offensive
    • Attack: A basic fencing technique, also called a thrust, consisting of extending the sword arm to declare an attack and attempt to land a touch upon the opponent's valid area. In sabre, attacks are also made with a cutting action.
    • Riposte: An attack by the defender after a successful parry. After the attacker has completed their attack, and it has been parried, the defender then has the opportunity to make an attack, and take right of way (foil and saber).
    • Feint: An attack with the purpose of provoking a reaction from the opposing fencer.
    • Lunge: A thrust while extending the front leg by using a slight kicking motion and propelling the body forward with the back leg.
    • Beat Attack: In foil & sabre, the attacker beats the opponent's blade to gain priority (right of way) and continues the attack against the target area. In épée, a similar beat is made but with the intention to disturb the opponent's aim and thus score with a single light.
    • Disengage: Beginning an attack in one direction, then quickly moving the point down in a semi-circle to attack a different location. This is used to trick the opponent into blocking the wrong direction. For example, the fencer could target the left side of the torso, and begin the lunge. As the opponent moves to the left to parry, the fencer disengages and finishes the attack on the right side of the torso. Commonly countered with a circle-parry.
    • Continuation of Attack: A typical épée action of making a 2nd after attack after the first attack is parried. This may be done with a change in line; example, an attack in the high line (above the opponent's bellguard, such as the shoulder) is then followed with an attack to the low line (below the opponent's bellguard, such as the thigh, or foot); or from the outside line (outside of the bellguard, such as outer arm) to the inside line (inside the bellguard, such as the inner arm or the chest). A second continuation is stepping slight past the parry and angulating the blade to bring the tip of the blade back on target.
    • Remise. A second attack immediately after the first has missed or been parried. In foil or sabre, a remise is considered to have lost right of way, and the defender's riposte will always score instead of the remise.
    • Flick: a technique used primarily in foil. It takes advantage of the extreme flexibility of the blade to use it like a whip, bending the blade so that it curves over and strikes the opponent with the point. This technique has become much more difficult due to timing changes which require the point to stay depressed for longer to set off the light.
    • Defensive
    • Parry: Basic defence technique, block the opponent's weapon while it is preparing or executing an attack to deflect the blade away from the fencer's valid area and (in foil and sabre) to give fencer the right of way. Usually followed by a riposte, a return attack by defender.
    • Circle Parry: A parry where the sword is twisted in a circle to catch the opponent's tip and deflect it away. It is commonly used to counter a disengage.
    • Counter Attack: A basic fencing technique of attacking your opponent while generally moving back out of the way of the opponent's attack. Used quite often in épée to score against the attacker's hand/arm. More difficult to accomplish in foil and sabre unless one is quick enough to make the counterattack and retreat ahead of the advancing opponent without being scored upon, or by evading the attacking blade via moves such as the In Quartata (turning to the side) or Passata-sotto (ducking).
    • Point In Line: Extending the weapon and arm against the opponent's target area. In foil and sabre, this gives one priority if the extension is made before the opponent is approximately advance-lunge distance away. When performed as a defensive action, the attacker must then disturb the extended weapon to re-take priority; otherwise the defender has priority and the counter-attack like action will win the touch if the attacker does not manage a single light. When performed as an offensive action, the intent is usually a means for the attacker to draw a defensive action that can be deceived and the attack continued. In épée, there is no priority; the move may be used as a means by either fencer to achieve a double-touch and advance the score by 1 for each fencer.






























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