Class 1: Mon April 9

  • Introductions to coach and sutdents
  • Description of the class and goals
  • Introduction to Fencing
  • Rules of the Class
  • Warmup Game
  • Learn En Garde
  • Assignment: Watch Some Fencing

Introduction to Fencing:

Fencing is the practice of sword play using “fenced” or blunted weapons. Although it can generally describe any kind of swordplay practice, modern sport fencing has it’s roots in European rapier and cavalry saber. Schools of fencing became popular in the European Renaissance where young lords could learn the art of the sword in a safe environment from a master of the sword. This swordplay would have been much like what you would read about in fantasy novel or see in movies like The Princess Bride.

Fencing contests became popular among the schools in towns and the sport of fencing was born.

Modern Fencing: Modern fencing came about in the late 10th century leading up to the first Olympic games held in Athens Greece in 1896 with foil and saber. Epee was added in 1900. Women’s foil fencing events were added in 1924. It would be electrically scored starting in 1930. Fencing has been featured in every Olympic Games since.

Electrical scoring changed the game considerably allowing fencers to move and execute actions faster and more athletically. Leading to what we see in current sport.

Class Rules:

Fencing is a sport that reinforces fair play and sportsmanship. The fencing rulebook (t.87) describes the fencing exchange as:

All bouts must preserve the character of a courteous and frank encounter.

  • I expect all exercises and games to preserve this character
  • All games will begin and end with a salute to our opponents
  • All games will end by shaking hands after a salute

En Garde:

The basic En Garde position in fencing is the fundamental stance every action in fencing starts from and returns to.

  1. Stand sideways with your dominant hand facing coach
  2. Rotate you front (dominant) foot 90 degrees to point at coach
  3. Look where your toe is… look closely.
  4. Take a small step forward with your front foot so that it is about half a foot length in front of where your toe was.
  5. Sit down a little into that position, bending your knees so they are over your toes
  6. Keep your back straight and your head up with your weight evenly distributed lightly on the balls of your feet

Watch some fencing

It is an amazing resource we have today with thousands of world cup level fencing bouts available to us on the internet. These are archived by the fencing organizations like the Fédération Internationale d’Escrime (FIE), the United States Fencing Association (USFA), schools like the Sydney Sabre School or enthusiastic individuals and coaches.

FIE Fencing on YouTube

Take a look at this modern sport with your parents. Let me know your thoughts in the comments or when we meet again at our next class.