Fencing as a Sport
The main fencing body is the Federation International d'Escrime (FIE). This organisation defines the rules of fencing. In the UK the British Fencing Association (BFA) is the main governing body. You need to be a member of the BFA in order to fence in regional and national competitions.
There are three weapons used in fencing:
Foil - this is the basic fencing weapon and is usually the initial training weapon. The torso is the target area.
Epee - this is more like a duelling weapon, the blade is stiffer and the whole body is the target area.
Sabre - this is a cutting weapon, unlike Foil and Epee which are stabbing weapons, the edge of the blade can also be used to score a hit. The body above the waist is the target area.
The basic fencing equipment and clothing provides a fencer with the maximum protection compatible with the freedom of movement necessary for fencing. A full set of equipment is required for competitions, however for club fencing a minimum set of equipment is adequate i.e. mask, jacket, glove, foil and a breast or groin protector.
The basic skills of fencing, movement, attack and defence are quickly grasped, however it takes much practice to develop these skills to be effective in combat.