What is Fencing?

Fencing is a combat sport. The aim is to hit your opponent on the target area, without being hit yourself. There are 3 separate weapons, the Foil, the Sabre and the Epée. Each has its own style and slight rule variations. All involve you hitting somebody, and hopefully not being hit yourself!

Foil Fencing.jpg


The Foil is one of the three weapons used in the sport of fencing, all of which are metal. It is flexible, rectangular in cross section, and weighs around 400 grams. 

As with the Epée (see below), points are only scored by contact with the tip, which, in electrically scored tournaments, is capped with a spring-loaded button to signal a touch. A Foil fencer's uniform features the lamé (an over jacket or vest, electrically wired to record hits). The Foil is the most commonly used weapon in competition.

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The Épée is the largest and heaviest of the three weapons used in fencing weighing 770 grams. 

As a thrusting weapon, the Épée is similar to a Foil (but different from a Sabre - see below - which is designed for both point and cutting actions) but has a stiffer more rigid blade, which is triangular in cross-section with a V-shaped groove, tapering to a sharp point blunted with a stop, or button.  It also has a larger bell guard to protect the fencers hand,  since this is also a  valid target area if exposed to your opponent. 

The fencing technique is somewhat different, as there are no rules regarding priority or right of way. In addition, the entire body is a valid target area.



The Sabre is one of the three weapons of fencing.  The Sabre is a light cutting and thrusting weapon that targets the entire body above the waist, except the weapon hand  and weighs around 500 grams. 

As with the Foil the Sabre fencer wears a (different coverage) lamé over their jacket and which defines the valid target area.  The Sabreur (or Sabreuse) uses thrusting and cutting with both the cutting edge and the back of the blade to score hits (unlike the other fencing weapons, the Epée and Foil, where hits are scored using the point of the blade.)


Fencing Clothing and Kit

In order to fence you must wear the appropriate basic protective clothing required for all 3 weapons. 

The base kit comprises breeches, plastron (a type of one sided shoulder / chest under jacket for your fencing arm), Jacket, Glove, and for women, girls and boys (if required) a chest or breast guard protector.

Weapon specific additional protective kit will also be required.  These include a face mask, a lamé over-jacket, as well as the specific weapon and associated body wires.

Fencing bouts are conducted on a piste - a 14 meter long and 1.8 - 2.0 metres wide strip.  Both fencers are connected via their body wires to the scoring box which records valid, and invalid (or off target) hits.

Your kit is obviously very important. If you need any help in purchasing or maintaining any of your kit please ask one of our coaches.

Please note any kit you purchase must be up to current BFA/FIE regulations for club ("recreational") and / or competitive use.  See the links to those organisations on the Links page.


Fencing Club Sessions

All of our weekly sessions start off with a general warm-up and footwork session led by the coaches.  

The coaches also work on a particular fencing actions and associated footwork to improve fencers knowledge and ability.

After the warm up and common coaching, there are either free-play or competitive sparring bouts, where club members are able to put into practice what they have learnt.

Club Members are also able to ask for individual lessons from our coaches in any of the three weapons.