Fencing is considered the ‘European martial art’ and allows participants to develop coordination, balance and flexibility, making it an ideal means of keeping fit for all ages and abilities.
Need for speed
The emphasis is on speed rather than strength, making it an all-round great sport for a beginner to take on. It is also an ideal sport for those in wheelchairs, with the sport being particularly popular at the Paralympic Games.
Fencing has been part of the Olympic Games since its revival in 1896, and modern fencers are among the fittest of all athletes and have levels of skills acquired only through many hours of dedicated practice. In the Olympics there are both individual events and team events.
Attacking and defending
Fencers learn the skills of attacking and defending with either the foil, epee or saber (the three types of weapon). Each discipline (foil, epee and saber) varies according to which parts of the body are scoring targets, and all three weapons are fitted with electronic equipment which indicates the validity of a hit. While it is not unusual for fencers to compete in all three events, they generally choose to develop their skills in one weapon.
Fitness benefits of fencing
Fencing has a number of health and fitness benefits. These can include:
- Develops upper body strength and arm muscles.
- Improves flexibility and reflexes.
- Boosts mental strength and concentration.
- Increases the nimbleness of feet and hands.