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Moving Up In The Fencing Ladder

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Most people have only heard of fencing. The first thing that comes to mind is the sight of clashing swords. In most cases this is true, but in others it’s not. Actually, the goal of most fencing is to hit your opponent following the rules that come with your specific sword; the foil, the epee (pronounced ehpay), and the saber. The sword that most people imagine is the saber. The saber allows both slashes and thrusts. On the other hand, the other two swords only allow thrusts. The guard of each weapon is different to give the wielder an edge in each kind of fighting style. The foil has a small guard, the epee has a larger guard called a bell guard, and the saber has a combination of the two. All three blades are different too. The foil has a weak, flimsy blade. The epee has a hard not so bendable blade, and the saber has a blade that can only bend side to side. This helps with slashing.

When I first started learning to fence, I started with the foil. The foil requires a fencer to move in a forward motion to attack. This style of fencing has something called the right of way. In foil, when attacking, a fencer must gain the right of way. Without it, any hits that were made don’t count for anything. To obtain the right of way, you must either move first when the signal is given, or you must tap the opponent’s blade. The right of way is also lost if retreating or moving backwards. Epee so far is my favorite. Epee is basically the freestyle form of fencing. In foil, you must hit somewhere on the torso. In epee anywhere on the body is a target. To get a point it’s required to move in a forward motion and hit the opponent with the tip of the sword. It does not count as a point unless the blade bends or if there is electronic scoring equipment. It does not require a right of way.

Saber opens up a whole new world. Saber can do anything that an epee can as long as you hit above the waist. In saber a whole new move set is added. In epee and foil there are many kinds of attacks and parries (blocks) used. In saber the new move set includes slashes. Attacks from a saber can easily alternate from thrusts and slashes. It is very unpredictable. At the moment, I have nearly mastered both the foil and epee. My fencing teacher has finally decided to teach me saber. I’m really excited to learn about how to use the sword and the rules that come with it. Last Monday he asked me if I wanted to try saber to see what it was like. I said sure and that it sounds fun. Using the saber was really out of my league, out of a 10 minute bout or match I only managed to get 1 point. My fencing teacher received an uncountable number of points. At this point I realized that I have a lot to learn. I fence at the Lifegate church in Logansport. The lessons are free and you can use my fencing teacher’s spare equipment. If you decide to officially join the sport, it is better to buy your own equipment. The reason that my fencing teacher is teaching for free is because he thinks it’s fun. He also has a goal of making me just as good as him. He gets bored without a rival and that is why I’m trying hard to get to his level as fast as I can. I’ve been fencing for nearly 2 years and it has been the most fun sport I’ve ever played.

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1 Comment

One Response to “Moving Up In The Fencing Ladder”

  1. Cjay74 on September 13th, 2018 8:04 am

    Levi,
    What an interesting article, I had no clue that there was more than one type of fencing swords. This was very intriguing, I did not know that you participate in fencing. I guess you learn something new everyday! Great article!

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Lewis Cass High School, Walton, Indiana,
Moving Up In The Fencing Ladder