What is fencing?Fencing is an olympic sport dating back to the mid-18th century which is broken up into three weapons (foil, epee, and saber). The basic form and footwork of fencing is used in all three weapons, but each has it's own unique style and technique which has developed due to rule differences.Foil: Foil is a thrusting weapon where you attack your opponent's target with the tip of the blade. The valid target area is the torso without the arms, and this was developed based on hitting vital organs in an actual duel. A foil blade is light and flexible with a button on the end which must be depressed against a metallic surface (the opponent's lame) in order to register a valid touch. In a foil bout, only one person can score a touch at a time, so there is a way to determine offense and defense with "right of way". Once a fencer has begun an attack, the defender must deflect the blade or cause his opponent to fall short before he has the right to begin his own attack.Saber: Saber is a cutting weapon where you attack your opponent's target with the side or the tip of the blade. The valid target area is from the head to the waist, and this was developed based on someone using a cavalry sword on horseback. A saber blade is a little more rigid when compared to foil, and there is no button since the side of the blade can be used to make a valid touch. Just like in a foil bout, only one person can score a touch at a time, so the rules of right of way are used. Saber bouts are typically the fastest since fencers that get a quick jump off the line have an advantage.Epee: Epee is a thrusting weapon (like foil) where you attack your opponent's target with the tip of the blade. The valid target area is the entire body from head to toe. An epee blade is fairly rigid with a button on the end which must be depressed against a non-grounded surface (the opponent's body) in order to score a touch. Double touches are valid in epee, so right of way is not used. Epee bouts tend to take longer than foil or saber because the entire body is target. While an opponent has a lot of target to choose from, attacking before there is an opening can leave you open for a counter attack. This leads to bouts which are like a game of cat and mouse, with fencers jockeying for position while trying to out think their opponent.Valid target for each weapon:Why should I fence?Fencing is a fast paced and unique sport with a rich history. The fencing community is very welcoming, and by becoming a fencer you can create life long friendships with people you may have never spoken to otherwise. While many students play sports like baseball, basketball, or football at some point in their life, fencing is something that will help to set you apart. Many high school fencers start learning the sport as a freshman, which means you can start from scratch and compete against opponents at a similar level. While anyone can join the fencing team, the best fencers typically have a good balance between athletic and academic ability. Fencing is as fast and demanding as any other sport, if not more so, but it is also a very cerebral game. You need to be able to think quickly and adapt when your opponent does something unexpected. There are also plenty of opportunities to fence once you leave high school, including college teams (NCAA and club level) and individual tournaments through the USFA.