Fencing is an exciting Olympic and Pan-American Games sport that develops coordination, timing and problem-solving skills while at the same time providing a unique physical challenge. It is a sport that can be pursued for almost one's entire life, either as a recreational member or competitor.

There are three different fencing disciplines: foil, épée and sabre.


The foil is the modern version of the rapier. Fencers score hits by landing the point of the foil on their opponent's torso, based on the principle of right-of-way. Competitive fencing is scored electronically, and foilists wear a metallized fabric vest connected to the electronic scoring equipment so that hits can be registered.


The épée is the modern version of the historical dueling sword. It is a slightly heavier sword than the foil and involves a different scoring area. Fencers score hits by landing the point of the épée anywhere on the opponents body. Épée is also scored electronically. An épéeist scores by making the first hit, or by hitting at the same time as their opponent.


The sabre is the modern version of the cavalry sword. Hits are scored when the point or the edge of the blade touch the target area of the opponent, which is anywhere above the waist including the head and arms. Sabre is also scored electronically, and like foil, is based on the principle of right-of-way. The target areas are covered with metallized fabric and the fencer wears a metal mask that is connected to the scoring apparatus.

From Wikipedia

The fencing PISTE or Strip

In modern fencing, the piste or strip is the playing area. Regulations require the piste to be 14 meters long and between 1.5 and 2 meters wide; the last two meters on each end are hash-marked, so as to warn a fencer before he/she backs off the end of the strip. There is also a 1.5 meter runoff to allow fencers who flèche. The piste is also marked at the center and at the "en garde" lines, located two meters either side of the center line.

Retreating off the end of the strip with both feet gets a touch against. Going off the side of the strip with one foot halts the fencing action. The fencers then return to the piste, with the each fencer able to fully extend their arm and blade without either fencer's point past where the fencer left the piste. Going off the side with both feet gets a penalty of the loss of one meter, and if this results in the offender going off the end of the strip, a touch is awarded to his opponent.

After each touch, fencers begin again at the en garde line, 4 meters apart, or if these lines are not available, roughly at a position where their blades can nearly touch when fully extended. If no touch is scored but play was halted, the fencers come en garde at the position they were stopped.

Most pistes at fencing tournaments are "grounded" to the scoring box, thus any hits that a fencer makes against the piste will not be registered as a touch.

Types of Piste

There are three different types of piste:

1. Rubber conductive piste

Made from conductive material with a rubber back; lightweight, approximately 25 kg.

2. Aluminium section piste

Made from sections of rolled aluminum which are bolted together; weighs approximately 300 kg

3. Metallic piste

Made from woven metal with no backing; weighs approximately 70 kg

Some fencing information links for the curious:

Alberta Fencing AssociationAlberta Fencing Association
USFAUnited States Fencing Association
British FencingBritish Fencing
Canadian Fencing FederationCanadian Fencing Federation
MFAManitoba Fencing Association

Other items of interest :
Miscellaneous Fencing Equipment Info

2003 CWG Essay Contest Winners

Strategic Balance in Chess and Fencing

CFF Armband Program Information

Information in these articles does not necessarily represent the views of the Lightning Fencing Club and are presented solely for information purposes.