Fencing Equipment And Weapons

Fencing is an extremely safe sport as long as the correct equipment is worn. Invest in the right equipment for fencing, starting out with these essentials.

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Essential fencing equipment

The main parts of a fencer’s equipment are as follows:  

  • Mask

  • Lame

  • Glove

  • Score cord

  • Knickers or pants

  • Fencing shoes

Fencing mask — this provides protection to the head area. It is made of heavy cloth and is fronted with mesh or a clear plastic window, and includes a padded throat guard.

Lame — a metallic vest worn by foil and saber fencers which register touches by the opponent’s weapon.

Fencing gloves — the glove is used to get a good grip on the sword and to protect the hand from accidental touches.

Score cord — a low voltage electric cable that triggers the scoring device.

Knickers — these are usually white and are easy to move around in, and are part of fencing tradition. They are usually made of heavy fabric of or Kevlar to protect the fencer from cuts.

Fencing shoes — fencing shoes are used because they can grip the fencing strip very easily.

Weapons used in fencing

In addition to the items worn by the fencer, the main item required is obviously the weapon. Modern fencing provides a choice of three main weapons, with each type of weapon having a specified target area:

  • Foil

  • Epee

  • Sabre

The foil

The foil is a light, flexible weapon, approximately 89cm (35in) in length and weighing less than 0.5kg (1.1lb). Points are scored with the tip of the blade only and must land within the torso of the body. It does not include the arms, neck, head and legs. The foil fencer’s uniform includes a lame which covers the valid target area, so that a valid touch will register on the scoring machine.

The epee

The epee is the same length as the foil, but is heavier, weighing approximately 765g (27oz), with a larger guard (to protect the hand from a valid hit) and a much stiffer blade. Touches are scored only with the point or tip of the blade. The entire body is the valid target area, so the uniform does not include a lame.

The saber

The saber is the lighter version of a slashing cavalry sword, and is similar in length and weight to the foil. Unlike both the foil and epee, hits can be scored by using the edge or tip of the blade. Only hits scored on the opponent’s body above the waist, arm and head count as valid. The saber fencer’s uniform includes the lame.