ABOUT FENCINGFencing 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.
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 Association
United States Fencing Association
Canadian Fencing Federation
Manitoba Fencing Association
ETHICS and INTEGRITY - Is there room for it in the sport of fencing?
The image of fencing is nothing like its reality. A CNN/Sports Illustrated 1996 article: (it is a link)
"Every sport," says Carl Schwende, a member of the executive board of the International Fencing Federation (FIE), "has its dark corners."
Other items of interest :
USFA Released Version of FIE Rules-2006
Fencing Referee HandbookMiscellaneous Fencing Equipment Info