Why doesn’t fencing get more TV coverage?

World Championships 2015; EurosportFencing is not a very televisual sport, for several reasons.

Firstly, the fencers wear masks which not only makes it difficult to know who’s who, but completely disconnects the viewer from the competitors. This is one reason why, for every hit claimed, the fencers rip their masks off for a burst of emotional shouting. Just as quickly, everyone calms down, covers up and carries on. It all looks like the demented behaviour of a bunch of crazy people. …

Understanding Priority or ‘Right of Way’

Final - Challenge International de Paris 2013-01-26 Marie-Lan Nguyen / Wikimedia CommonsIn foil and sabre, the priority or ‘right of way’ is one of the most difficult concepts in fencing to understand. For these two weapons, there is no such thing as a double hit; only one fencer can score at any moment in the bout.

If only one light comes up for one side or the other, no one has to worry about priority. The priority rule determines who is the attacker and who is the defender when lights for both fencers come up on the scoring box. …

How to Watch a Fencing Bout

Final - Challenge International de Paris 2013-01-26</a> Marie-Lan Nguyen / Wikimedia CommonsWhen you watch a fencing bout, what exactly are you looking at?

Newcomers to competition, including parents, partners and even some of the new fencers may find it confusing to watch and, more importantly, understand fencing. It is a fast sport fought in short bouts (fights) according to strict technical rules with little time to analyse or find explanations.

For this non-fencer and newcomer, this is, in summary, how fencing ‘works’. …

Fencing: priority over oncoming traffic

Priority rules: foil double hitIn a previous post, we looked at the priority weapons, foil and sabre, attempting to untangle the issues of fencing time and what constitutes priority over oncoming traffic.

In short, priority (or right-of-way as it is also known) is the set of rules used to determine who is awarded the point when there is a double hit in foil or sabre (that is, when both fencers hit each other in the same period of fencing time). …