Fencing is part of the Olympic family since the first Olympics in 1856. In fencing, two fencers compete on a floor. The floor is known as ‘The Fencing Piste’. Piste is 40 meters long and 2 meters wide. It has a middle line, and an On Guard line, a Warning line, and Limit line.

At the start, both the fencers stand at their guard line. One has to touch the opponent as per the rule of the discipline. Nowadays, the light turns on if one touches the opponent’s permissible area. With the touch, a player gets a point. Then, the clock stops and a restart takes place from the guard line. Medals are given in individual and team events.

If both fencers touch each other at the same time then the aggressor gets a point. It is called Right of way rule. Some basic terms of fencing are as follows. The aggressive position is one in which the tip of the blade is pointed towards the opponent with an extended arm. Fall short means the strategy when one makes his opponent miss and then attacks. Parry and riposte mean the strategy when one deflects the opponent’s attack and then counter-attacks. In Beat, one knocks the opponent’s blade away and then attacks.

Fencing has three disciplines. The first one is ‘Foil’. It is the most common and the most technical one. Its sword is the lightest and the smallest among three weapons. The target area is anywhere on the torso or any part at the back. One has to hit the opponent only with the tip of the sword to collect points. Right of way rule applies here.


The second is ‘Sabre’. It is the fastest among the three. The sword’s handle is slightly different. The target area is anywhere above the waist. It is the only discipline where one can hit the opponent with a slash or with the side of the blade. In this, scoring a point is easy. It has rights of way rule.

The third is ‘Epee’. It is considered slowest among the three. Its sword is the biggest and the heaviest. Here, the target area is the entire body. One has to attack only with the tip of the blade for points. It is the only version in which if both fencers touch at the same time, both are awarded a point each. It does not have right of way rule.

Now, something about penalties. One cannot step outside the piste. One cannot turn their backs at the opponent. Using the non-playing hand is also not permitted. The yellow card is for a warning, the red card means a point to the opponent and the black card means disqualification.  

Italy, France, and Hungry are the most successful nations. 3 giants of Asia (China, South Korea, and Japan) dominate at the continental level. India has not opened its account at the Asian games yet. Now with increased funds and attention, the future is looking optimistic, especially at the junior level.


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