A combat sport in which two competitors fight using rapier-style swords, using either the foil, the epee, or the sabre. Based on traditional skills of swordsmanship, the modern sport was born at the end of the 19th century in Western Europe.
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What is fencing?

There are three forms of modern fencing. Each type involves using a different style of weapon and a different set of rules. However, the basic objective of each discipline is to score points to make contact with your opponent.

The foil is a flexible, lightweight, rectangular-shaped sword. Points are scored by touching the chest of your opponent with the tip of the blade. The épée is similar in shape but is bigger and heavier than the foil. Again, points are scored with the tip of the blade, but competitors are permitted to strike anywhere on the body. The sabre permits competitors to score with the edge of the blade, ensuring its place as the fastest and most challenging discipline.

Find out more about how to run fencing formats.

Equipment needed

  • A suitable indoor space (e.g. sports hall)
  • Plastic / foam foils (or tag rugby belts as an alternative to foils)
  • Face guards
  • Chest protectors (optional)
  • Stopwatch

A brief history of fencing

Competitive fencing is one of five activities which have been featured in every one of the modern Olympic Games, the other four being athletics, cycling, swimming, and gymnastics.

Italy (130 medals) and France (123) are the two most successful nations in the sport’s Olympic history. Great Britain has only won nine fencing medals – one gold and eight silvers. The former came for ten-time British champion Gillian Sheen in 1956.

Wheelchair Fencing takes place at the Summer Paralympics. France, with 145 medals, is the most successful nation, with Italy second on 82 medals. Great British is in sixth place with a total of 46 medals.

Get involved

The School Games is inclusive to all young people and provides opportunities for everyone to get involved, either within school, against other local schools, or at county or regional level.

School Games Organisers

School Games Organisers (SGO) help schools coordinate appropriate competitive opportunities for all young people from Key Stage 2-4, to recruit, train and deploy a suitable workforce, and to support the development of club.

Sign up to find your local SGO

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