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Fencing, basic rules and where to practice it.

Olympic fencing is an open-context opposition sport based on combat between two contenders through the use of three different weapons: the foil, epee and saber.

Combat is referred as “Assault” and lasts 3 minutes in the initial stages of competitions where the division of assaults is defined in Italian rounds, while it lasts 9 minutes (3 times of 3 minutes) in the subsequent phase of direct clashes.

The assaults of the rounds are brought to the best of 5 hits and in case of a tie at the end of the time the so-called priority is drawn at the head of a contender; if at the end of the additional minute of time allowed the tie should persist the victory will be awarded to the one who had been assigned the priority.

Direct assaults are taken to the best of 15 hits (10 for persons in minor categories), the matter concerning the drawing of priority in the event of a tie at the end of regulation time also applies to them.

  • The foil is the lightest and easiest weapon for learning the rudiments of fencing, it is therefore used by the youngest in their approach to the sport. It is characterized by a blade, the length of which can vary depending on the age of the duelists from 80cm to 90cm, and a very small cup. During a foil assault, the valid target is limited to the opponent’s torso and it is only possible to touch the opponent with the tip of the foil. Also, in foil, as in saber, there is “convention”: this is a set of rules governing the awarding of the point. The athlete who attacks first has priority over the one who suffers the attack. The one who suffers the attack must parry first and only then can respond. In the case of a simultaneous attack, on the other hand, the point is not awarded.
  • The saber is the most dynamic and instinctive weapon, as it relies heavily on the athlete’s quickness. The valid target here is the torso (except the groin), arms and head. Pointing, cutting and counter-cutting is also allowed. The rules of “convention” are also applied to this weapon thus making it very technical and, at the same time, very scenic.
  • The epee turns out to be the most complex and heavy weapon compared to the other two in that the valid target is the whole body and can only be touched by point. With this weapon, no special limitations or rules are in effect, the first contender to touch the opponent is awarded the point. Unlike foil and saber, should the duelists touch each other with a gap of less than one twenty-fifth of a second, the point will be awarded to both.

To date there are many centers throughout the nation where it is possible to take the first steps in the world of fencing.

  • To find out the closest accredited fencing academy, click here