There are five sports disciplines that are regularly included in the Olympic calendar. One of them is fencing. In fact, it was one of the first sports played in the Olympics, the four others being athletics, swimming, cycling and gymnastics.
Fencing, just like most of the sports, is a combat sports composed of three related disciplines. These are the foil, the épée, and the sabre.
Each of these three disciplines uses a different kind of weapon and has different rules as well.
Actually, during the 1904 Olympics, a fourth discipline called ‘singlestick’ was included in fencing competition, but was dropped after that Olympic edition in St. Louis Missouri, United States. Since then, singlestick was no longer part of the modern fencing.
Most competitive fencers choose to specialize in one weapon only.
Given all the necessary uniforms and gears, opposing fencers on a certain flatform, try to outdo each other like real enemies using their weapons.
Points are made through the contact with an opponent.
Equipment needed includes at least 2 swords, a Lame (not for épée), a white jacket, underarm protector, two body and mask cords, knee high socks, glove and knickers.
The foil is a light thrusting weapon with a maximum weight of 500 grams. The foil targets the torso, but not the arms or legs. The foil has a small circular hand guard that serves to protect the hand from direct stabs. As the hand is not a valid target in foil, this is primarily for safety. Touches are scored only with the tip; hits with the side of the blade do not register on the electronic scoring apparatus (and do not halt the action). Touches that land outside the target area (called an off-target touch and signaled by a distinct color on the scoring apparatus) stop the action, but are not scored. Only a single touch can be awarded to either fencer at the end of a phrase. If both fencers land touches within a close enough interval of milliseconds to register two lights on the machine, the referee uses the rules of "right of way" to determine which fencer is awarded the touch, or if an off-target hit has priority over a valid hit, in which case no touch is awarded. If the referee is unable to determine which fencer has right of way, no touch is awarded.
The épée is a thrusting weapon like the foil, but heavier, with a maximum total weight of 775 grams. In épée, the entire body is valid target. The hand guard on the épée is a large circle that extends towards the pommel, effectively covering the hand, which is a valid target in épée. Like foil, all hits must be with the tip and not the sides of the blade.
A light cutting and thrusting weapon that targets the entire body above the waist, except the weapon hand. Sabre is the newest weapon to be used. Like the foil, the maximum legal weight of a sabre is 500 grams. The hand guard on the sabre extends from hilt to the point at which the blade connects to the pommel.