What’s the big deal?

Fencing is a duelling sport in which two opponents compete on a 2m by 12m strip called a ‘piste.’ The goal is to get as many ‘hits’ or ‘touches’ on your opponent as possible. A ’bout’ is made up of a certain number of hits (typically five to fifteen), and the first player to reach that amount wins the bout.

Touches are recorded electronically by the players’ body wires and proclaimed by a coloured light on the side of the fencer who made the touch because it is such a fast-paced sport.

The sabre, epee, and foil are the three weapons used in the sport of fencing. The foil is widely regarded as the best tool for learning.

What an expert has to say…

Zsolt Vadaszffy is a former Hungarian foil champion and the current British Professional Epee Champion. Swash & Buckle Fencing Club’s head coach.

Don’t forget to warm up. Fencing is a fast-paced sport that requires continuous direction changes and quick footwork. To do this, you must have strong mobility and flexibility, therefore always warm up fully.


Practicing in front of a mirror is a good idea. You may believe that practicing your footwork, lunges, and hand movements in front of a mirror is the only way to enhance your talents, but you may do so without any special equipment. If you can find a partner, you can also practice keeping the proper distances.

Please take your time. Don’t be irritable. Beginners frequently want to get their ‘touch’ in as soon as possible, but timing is crucial. A skilled fencer takes his time and attempts to outsmart his adversary. It’s similar to playing physical chess.

Make sure you’re not dragging your feet. It’s crucial to have quick feet. Consider your feet to be hovercrafts, and try to keep them as light as possible on the ground.

Switch up your partners. Don’t always fence with the same opponent because various opponents can teach you different things and make you focus on different parts of your improvement. It’s sometimes especially beneficial to fence with someone who have more experience than you.

Maintain a healthy balance. Fencing is a pretty one-sided activity, thus diversifying your activities is essential. Basketball, netball, and squash all provide a similar combination of speed and stamina, while swimming provides all-around health advantages, including stamina, strength, and mobility.

Maintain your focus. Learning to fence takes a long time. And never assume you’ve mastered everything; I’ve been fencing for 59 years and am constantly learning!

The tools

The essential mask, glove, and weapon are required, as well as a lame jacket, body wire, breeches, and a protective ‘plastron’ that protects the torso and sword arm (women will also need a chest guard ). You’ll most likely be able to borrow or hire club equipment at first, but if you decide to pursue it more seriously, you’ll need your own. A mask will set you back roughly £50, while a glove will set you back around £15-25. The last point to consider is fencing shoes. It’s critical to maintain solid contact with the ground. Normal trainers have too thick a midsole, which reduces sensation and makes you more prone to twist your ankle. Hi-Tec Blades (£64.99) and Adidas En Guard (£54.99) are two options.

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