Fencing Guides

What Are The Terms For The Sport Of Fencing

What Are The Terms For The Sport Of Fencing

Are you intrigued by the world of fencing but sometimes find yourself feeling lost amidst all of the unique terminology used in the sport? You're not alone! As an elegant and strategic combat sport, fencing comes with a rich history and its own set of specialized terms. In this article, we aim to provide you with a comprehensive guide to the most important fencing terms, so you can feel confident and prepared as you explore this fascinating sport.

What Are The Terms For The Sport Of Fencing Table of Contents

General Fencing Terms

Fencing Equipment and Protective Gear

Scoring and Competition Terms

General Fencing Terms

Here are some general terms that every fencer should be familiar with:

Foil, Epee, and Sabre

These are the three weapons used in fencing. Each has its own unique set of rules and target areas, making the sport incredibly versatile and competitive.

  • Foil: A lightweight weapon with a flexible rectangular blade. Points are scored solely by hitting the opponent's torso.
  • Epee: A heavier weapon with a stiffer triangular blade. Points are scored by hitting any area of the opponent's body.
  • Sabre: A curved blade weapon with a flat edge designed for both thrusting and slashing. Points are scored by hitting the opponent's upper body, including the arms and head.

En Garde

The starting position for fencers. The phrase is French for "on guard" and signifies that both participants are ready to begin their bout.


One of the most basic attack moves in fencing, in which a fencer extends their leading foot and arm forward to strike their opponent.


A defensive move in which a fencer intercepts and deflects their opponent's attack.


An offensive move that follows a successful parry, often executing a quick counterattack.

Fencing Equipment and Protective Gear

Essential fencing equipment includes:

  • Mask: A sturdy metal mesh headpiece that provides facial protection during bouts.
  • Glove: A padded glove worn on the weapon-hand for protection and grip during play.
  • Jacket: A thick, padded garment worn to protect the torso from potential injuries.
  • Plastron: An additional underarm protector worn beneath the jacket.
  • Knickers: Specialized pants that extend to just below the knee for additional lower body protection.
  • Socks and Shoes: Tall socks and sturdy athletic shoes designed to provide traction and support on the fencing strip.

Scoring and Competition Terms

Know these terms to understand how fencers compete:


A single match between two fencers.


When a fencer lands a valid hit on their opponent, scoring a point.

Right of Way

A concept mainly applicable to foil and sabre fencing that determines which fencer has priority in scoring during simultaneous attacks.

Double Touch

When both fencers score a touch at the same time. This situation is handled differently depending on the weapon being used.


A round-robin stage in tournaments where a group of fencers competes against one another. The results of the pool typically determine seeding for an elimination bracket.

What Are The Terms For The Sport Of Fencing Example:

Imagine you're attending your first fencing tournament as a spectator, and you hear the referee shout, "En garde!" The two fencers on the strip assume their starting positions, and then the bout begins. Throughout the match, you watch as they lunge, parry, and riposte, with the fencers in foil gear aiming for the torso while those in epee are striking at any part of their opponent's body.

Later, you hear the excited whispers of people discussing a "double touch" that occurred in a foil bout, which led to some confusion about the right of way, and who earned the point. With your newfound knowledge of fencing terms, you can join the conversation and discuss the sport confidently with fellow enthusiasts.

Now that you have a solid understanding of the essential terms for the sport of fencing, you're ready to dive deeper into the world of this fascinating and skilled combat sport. Feel free to share this article with friends who may also be interested in fencing and don't forget to explore other guides on Anchorage Fencing Club for even more insights and information. Happy 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