5 MAIN RULES FOR FENCING
Fencing is a unique competitive sport that is part of the Summer Olympics.
Two sword-wielding competitors against one another in a contest of skill and athleticism. Each fencer attempts to touch the other with the tip of his/her sword to score touches (points). All fencing competitions must follow a few basic rules to ensure not only competitive balance but also the safety of all participants.
Fencing utilizes a simple scoring system, awarding one point for each time a fencer touches his/her opponent with his/her weapon. Depending on the manner of competition, bouts may last five touches with a time limit of three minutes or 15 touches and a time limit of nine minutes, according to the rules of the U.S. Fencing Association.
A fencer must touch his/her opponent in an approved target zone of the body to register a point, with the target changing depending on the weapon used.
Epee fencing, contacting anywhere on the opponent’s body registers a touch. Sabre fencing limits the target zone to the torso, meaning anywhere above the waist.
Foil fencing reduces it even further, restricting the target area to the trunk only and removing the arms and head from consideration.
Fencers compete on a long, narrow strip of material and must remain on the fencing strip at all times. The strip, or piste, must be 46 feet long and measure between 5 and roughly 7 feet wide. The strip contains a center line, two on-guard lines roughly 6 feet from the center line and two lines marking the rear limits of the strip roughly 23 feet from the center line.
If a fencer steps beyond the strip’s legal side boundaries, the official will award 1 meter, or approximately 3 feet, of ground to the opponent on the restart. Stepping beyond the strip is rear limit results in an awarded touch to the opponent. Officials may also award touches to the opponent if a fencer attacks with both hands, if a fencer doesn’t obey instructions or if a fencer displays poor sportsmanship or overly violent behavior.
By William Lynch