What is fencing?

Novices foilModern fencing is a martial art derived from older forms of duelling with swords. The objective is to hit your opponent without being hit yourself. Modern fencing is a competitive form that emulates a duel – the weapons are blunt and a secondary objective after winning the bout is not to injure anyone.

As such, it is often defined as:

  • A physical game of chess
  • A science
  • An Art
  • A lifetime sport

Fencing has evolved over 800 years from deadly combat to a complete sport. Speed of movement and the intricate strategy of ancient duelling are still very much a part of modern fencing. Since duelling was outlawed, fencing as a sport has grown more and more popular with both men and women. Some fencers become proficient in two, or all three weapons, while others specialise in only one.

Competitions are presently held in three weapons: foil, epée, and sabre.