Home Coach Services Hours Contact

Located inside Christopher Hall ___


(352) 286 - 9608


Fencing has been around since the time of the Roman gladiators- maybe earlier.  The word “fencing” originated from the word “defense” or “defend” meaning to protect.  When firearms were invented, knights gave up their heavy armor and two-handed swords.  They were no match for bullets.  Knights would continue to wear their swords (both for decoration and defense), but they became smaller and lighter. Dueling became popular, and fencing became part of the curriculum. The earliest books on fencing date back to the late 1400’s. As fencing spread, different techniques arose as many cultures developed their own schools.  The French were the most influential. They developed the maneuvers, vocabulary, and rules for fencing. The practice of fencing became a sport in itself, and people could duel without killing each other.  (Or they could duel with pistols if they were lazy or stupid.) Fencing has become a college sport and an Olympic sport.


Fencing is an Olympic sport- has been since 1896. It’s nothing like the movies.

There are 150 countries registered with the International Fencing Federation (FIE), fencing’s governing body in the Olympics. In the U.S., there are over 30,000 members of the United States Fencing Association (USFA). There are over 40 colleges with NCAA fencing teams. Some colleges even offer full-ride athletic scholarships for top fencers. If you fence for an NCAA team, you will travel every weekend on a bus, with your hotel and meals paid for, as you compete against other colleges.

Men and women compete separately by weapon: foil, sabre, or épée.

Foil- a light thrusting weapon that targets the torso, including the back, but not the arms. Touches are scored only with the tip; hits with the side of the blade do not count and do not halt the action. Touches that land outside of the target area (off-target) stop the action but are not scored.

Sabre- a light cutting and thrusting weapon that targets the entire body above the waist, excluding the hands. Hits with the edges of the blade as well as the tip are valid. As in foil, touches which land outside of the target area are not scored. However, unlike foil, these off-target touches do not stop the action and the fencing continues.

Épée- a heavier thrusting weapon that targets the entire body. Touches must be scored using the tip, not the side, of the blade. Hits with the side of the blade do not halt the action.

Foil and sabre (but not épée) are subject to a special set of rules called “right of way.” The referee may only award a touch to one of the fencers, and he uses the rules of “right of way” (R.O.W.) to help him make that decision. In épée fencing, if both fencers hit each other, then they both get a touch.

The first fencer to score 5 touches in under 3 minutes is the winner.

A brief INTRO TO the sport of  Olympic fencing