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Olympic Fencing
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One of the more refined and artistic sports in the Olympics is without a doubt fencing. Generally recognized as the closest thing to sword fighting in modern times, Olympic fencing is a world wide sport which readily caters to the imagination of adventure and fancy swordplay. The actual sport is a fast-paced blend of timing and speed seeking to make contact with the target.

Olympic fencing can be broken down into three separate categories: Foil, Saber, and Epee. These three divisions within sport fencing are actually quite diverse and other than sharing the usage of a sword and protective gear, are not similar at all in regards to regulations and strategies for scoring.

Foil Often considered the most basic style of fencing, foil is anything but basic. It has the most complicated system of rules with which to determine who has the advantage. Whoever has advantage is awarded points for successful touches regardless of whether the opponent also touched them simultaneously. Additionally the target area is smaller in foil than it is for any of the other forms of fencing, consisting solely of the torso. The only method for scoring points is through precise thrusting techniques that are effectively timed and launched.

Epee Unlike the foil, epee has no rules regarding advantage. It all narrows down to hit or be hit. In epee bouts, the entire body is a target. Because of this, the epee has a much broader cup hilt and it is extremely important for fencers to correctly size up their opponents and time lunges and thrusts with extra caution. The epee is the longest of the three Olympic fencing weapons and also outweighs the other two slightly. Just as the foil is a thrusting weapon, so to is the epee, which requires pinpoint thrusting precision for its mastery.

Saber The saber is a weapon that approaches combat completely differently from its counterparts. This is due to the edge of the blade which allows the fencer to both thrust and cut in order to win touches. This motion is typically blended with the thrust into a general cut-thrust that maximizes reach with speed of attack. Similar to foil, saber fencing employs an advantage rule in order to determine who wins the touch. The target area for saber fencers is from the waist up (not including the hands).

Which is your preferred weapon of choice? It is often much advised that new fencers take up foil prior to progressing on to epee or saber. The reason being that foil is an excellent tool to develop quality point control and disciplined form before switching over. No matter, regardless of what style you prefer, they are all unique in their own fashion and I highly encourage you to try them all.


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