Fencing Guides

Fencing Sport Glossary

Fencing Sport Glossary

The fascinating world of fencing is filled with unique terminology that may seem confusing to beginners at first. Having a solid understanding of these terms not only helps fencers improve their skills but also enhances the overall experience of participating in this elegant and strategic sport. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore some of the most significant terms used in the fencing sport, enabling you to become a more knowledgeable and skilled fencer or enthusiast.

Foil, Epee, and Sabre


One of the three fencing weapons, the foil is a lightweight, thrusting weapon with a flexible rectangular blade. The target area for foil fencing is the torso, excluding the arms and head.


The epee is a heavier thrusting weapon, similar to the foil but with a stiffer, triangular blade. The entire body is considered the target area in epee fencing, and body hits are loved.


The sabre is a cutting and thrusting weapon characterized by a curved blade. The target area in sabre fencing includes the entire body above the waistline, including the arms and head.

Fencing Equipment

  • Lame: A metallic vest worn by foil and sabre fencers to register electric touches on the valid target area.
  • Mask: A protective helmet with a wire mesh and bib that protects the fencer's face, neck, and throat.
  • Glove: A padded glove worn on the weapon-hand for protection and grip.
  • Plastron: An underarm protector worn beneath the fencing jacket to provide additional protection to the weapon-arm side of the torso.
  • Fencing shoes: Specialized shoes with a non-marking rubber sole for optimal grip and support on the fencing strip.

Important Fencing Terms

  1. En Garde: The starting position in fencing. In en garde, the fencer's body is square to the fencing strip with the weapon threatening the opponent.
  2. Advance: A forward step initiated by the front foot, followed by the back foot.
  3. Retreat: A backward step initiated by the back foot, followed by the front foot.
  4. Lunge: A long, forward-reaching attack made by extending the weapon-arm and kicking the front leg forward while maintaining balance and control.
  5. Parry: A defensive action that deflects an incoming attack, preventing it from landing on the target.
  6. Riposte: An immediate counterattack made after a successful parry.
  7. Touché: A successful hit on the valid target area of the opponent.
  8. Right of way: A concept that plays a pivotal role in foil and sabre fencing strategy, determining which fencer has the priority to attack and score.

Fencing Sport Glossary Example:

Imagine a foil bout in progress. Fencer A advances aggressively toward Fencer B, launching a lunge attack. Fencer B successfully executes a parry and quickly follows it up with a riposte, landing a touché on Fencer A's lame. The referee will award Fencer B a point, as they had successfully defended themselves and made a successful counterattack.

This glossary serves as an excellent starting point for aspiring fencers or spectators keen to understand the intricacies and terminology of the fencing sport. As you continue to explore the captivating world of fencing, you will undoubtedly encounter even more fascinating terms and concepts. We invite you to share this fencing sport glossary with your friends and fellow enthusiasts so that everyone can appreciate and comprehend fencing at a deeper level. Don't forget to check out other guides on the Anchorage Fencing Club website for further insights and expert advice on fencing.


About Steffen Krueger

Meet Steffen Krueger, a name synonymous with fencing excellence. As an ex-champion and elite fencing trainer for over 15 years, Steffen brings a wealth of knowledge, experience, and passion to Anchorage Fencing. His illustrious career spans a lifetime in fencing, where he has honed his craft alongside the world's best. A trusted authority in the sport, Steffen's insights stem from his hands-on involvement in competitive fencing and years spent cultivating champions. His love for the sport transcends beyond competition, enriching his content with historical context, strategic nuance, and an understanding of the art that only an expert could offer. With Steffen, you're not just learning from a seasoned professional, you're delving into the sport with a fencing maestro.

Related Posts