Fencing is the modern-day sport derived from the centuries-old practice of beating the tar out of your opponent with a sword. It currently comes in three flavors, foil, epee, and sabre; and is maintained in the United States by the United States Fencing Association and internationally by the FIE.

THERE’S A FENCING USERGROUP, YO! It’s at fencingnoders, and you can shoot either me or one of the E2 Gods a /msg if you’re a fencing noder and you wanna join.



Types of Fencers




The Playing Field







Equipment Suppliers/Retailers


Fencers on E2

Famous Fencers

A few random points (no pun intended) about fencing:

  1. Sabre fencing bears little resemblance to baseball bat-fu, or any other form of combat that involves a bludgeoning or cutting weapon. Weighing in at only 500 grams, the fencing sabre is far lighter than a "real" blade, and hence requires an entirely different fighting style.
  2. The difference between classical fencing and modern (or "olympic") fencing is the subject of many "my kung fu is better than yours" flamewars on the fencing newsgroup. Classical fencing seeks to recreate the techniques that would be used in actually fighting a sword duel, while modern fencing is more sport-oriented (i.e. let's see who can score the most points within a certain rules framework).
  3. Why does a martial art have to relate to self-defense anyhow? How many people carry a katana or nunchaku with them on a regular basis? Shall we disqualify martial arts using those weapons too, since they are not practical for self-defense?
  4. Modern fencing is a fast-paced, athletic sport. For sheer excitement (to play, that is; watching is another matter) the only other sports that come close are racquet sports like squash and racquetball.
  5. Even the cups protect a woman's breasts reasonably well. Most of the serious women fencers I've known have worn a plastic chest plate, which gives pretty comprehensive protection.
  6. After the first time a woman demolishes you on the strip, you will get over any hangup you may have had about poking them. They can take it. Really.

Fencing, as Webster 1913 points out, is also the act of building a fence. Building a fence is an art form. You have to space the posts just right, put the stables in at the right angle so that they don't pop out too easily. When building a fence, the gates and corner posts are the hardest part.

Fencing requires some special tools. In particular, a hydralic post pounder that can be pulled behind a tractor or a truck is handy. It saves you from having to put posts in by hand, using either a post maul (a sledge hammer with a broader head), or a donkey hammer. A donkey hammer is just a piece of pipe, two or three feet long, about 6 to 10 inches in diameter, with handles. To use a donkey hammer, you simply slide it over a post, and move it up and down to pound the post into the ground. You'll also need fencing plyers for manipulating the wire (usually barbed), and a good hammer for putting in staples. Sturdy leather gloves are required, as are steel-toed boots, but you can leave your hard hat at home.

Fencing is a good job for a high school boy in a small town. It's fun and a good way to get some excercise.

You can get fencing supplies and tools at UFA.

There are three weapons used in fencing.

  • Foil: The foil is the lightest of the weapons at less than one pound. The foil has a 35-inch triangular blade. To score points, you must hit your opponent with the tip of the blade in the torso area.

  • Epee: The epee is heavier than the foil at 27 ounces. The epee has a large hand guard, normally shaped like a bowl. To score, you must hit your opponent with the tip anywhere on the body.

  • Sabre: The sabre is similar in size and weight to the foil. It is both a cutting and thrusting weapon similar to calvary swords. To score, you must hit your opponent from the hips to the head.

    The fencing area is a six foot by forty foot strip. Fencing is such a fast sport that all hits are detected electronically. Women used to be limited to the foil. In 1996, the epee was added as an olympic sport for women besides fencing with a foil.

    A normal fencing bout requires 15 hits or touches. Direct elimination matches consist of three three-minute periods to score the needed 15 hits.

    Inciteful says: re your fencing writeup, perhaps things are different where you fence but, in my experience, normal pool bouts are 5 hits, only DEs are 15 hit. just in case you were curious ;)

    undef says Your node on fencing contains an error. Foils are rectangular blades, not triangular.

  • Another meaning of fencing is the act of selling dubiously acquired goods to an intermediary, who will sell them to the unsuspecting public (perhaps establishing a veneer of legitimacy by concealing the illicit origin of the goods). This intermediary is the fence. I would have thought that they were so called because they act as a thin and rickety barrier between the criminal element and innocent buyers of goods, but in fact it turns out just to be an old Thieves' Cant abbreviation of "defence" (which is how defense is spelled in countries which did not defeat the British in the Revolutionary War).

    Often fencing operations are fronted by (or depicted as being fronted by) a pawn shop. The 1979 Dom deLuise helmed movie Hot Stuff is an especially noteworthy depiction of pawn shop fencing in action, albeit the shop in the film is secretly run by cops, who are videotaping all their purchases for later arrest and prosecution of their thicket of thick thieves. The film is surprising, as well, for how much better shape the famously portly deLuise was in, as man in his mid-40s. Do I think that all pawn shops are fronts for fencing operations? Well, I've pawned a few things in a few places and no questions were asked of the sort which might uncover any underhandedness in their acquisition. So, I'm on the fence about it.

    Fen"cing (?), n.


    The art or practice of attack and defense with the sword, esp. with the smallsword. See Fence, v. i., 2.


    Disputing or debating in a manner resembling the art of fencers.



    The materials used for building fences.



    The act of building a fence.


    To aggregate of the fences put up for inclosure or protection; as, the fencing of a farm.


    © Webster 1913.

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