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In fencing, the grip is the part of the weapon which is gripped by the fencer's hand.
There are two types of grips commonly used today in competitive foil and épée: French, which is a straight grip with a pommel at the end of it, and the orthopedic or pistol grip. Virtually all high level foil fencers use a pistol grip; in épée, both types are used. Both kinds of grip optimize hitting with the point of the sword (a 'thrust'), which is the only way to score a touch with a foil or épée.
There are a number of grips which are no longer common or are currently illegal in competitive fencing. The Italian grip is legal but is not used commonly. A number of grips which combine a French grip pommel with pistol grip style prongs are illegal for competition. The rationale for these grips being illegal is that they would allow both the extended reach of the French and the added strength of the pistol grip.
Sabre, which is the only fencing weapon that allows "cutting" with the edge of the blade, has only one kind of grip, because of the way the blade is handled. Sabre grips are generally made of plastic, rubber over metal or plastic, wood, or leather wrapped over wood.
The French grip is straight or slightly contoured to the curve of the hand. It reached its modern form in the late nineteenth century. The French grip allows the fencer to "post", holding the grip towards the pommel, instead of holding the weapon near the bell guard. This gives the fencer a longer reach while reducing the power of beats and parries, and allows for an expanded repertoire of counterattacks and remises of attacks.
A French grip may be bent or canted somewhat where the blade meets the grip, and it may be bent somewhat along its length. The grip may not be bent or canted so far as to take the pommel outside the cylinder formed by the bell guard.
A substantial number of épéeists at all levels use French grips while posting to allow for longer reach. Posting is not a technique seen in competitive foil, as it decreases one's ability to parry successfully, and thus increases an opponent's chance of a successful hit or remise. As a result, the use of the French grip in competitive foil is extremely rare.
A pistol grip is any grip with a special shape or protrusion intended to aid in holding the weapon. To be legal a pistol grip must fix the hand in one position, and the fencer's thumb must fall within 2 cm of the bell guard when the weapon is gripped.
In competitive fencing pistol grips are nearly universally preferred in foil, and are used by a large percentage of épée fencers because they allow stronger blade movements.
While individual manufacturers have variations in shape, pistol grips can be classed into a few broad types:
A number of grip variations are either no longer used or are no longer legal to use in competitive fencing.
The Italian grip is legal, but is not used in modern fencing. It can be viewed as a transitional step on the path to the pistol grip.
The names of illegal grips are applied inconsistently and have some overlap with uncommon but legal grips. Rules organizations usually do not list names of grips as legal or not, but rather list general characteristics. In general, aside from the Italian grip, if a grip has both prongs to assist the fencer's grip and also a French grip pommel it is not legal to use for competitive fencing.
Fencing is a group of three related combat sports. The three disciplines in modern fencing are the foil, the épée, and the sabre ; winning points are made through the weapon's contact with an opponent. A fourth discipline, singlestick, appeared in the 1904 Olympics but was dropped after that, and is not a part of modern fencing. Fencing was one of the first sports to be played in the Olympics. Based on the traditional skills of swordsmanship, the modern sport arose at the end of the 19th century, with the Italian school having modified the historical European martial art of classical fencing, and the French school later refining the Italian system. There are three forms of modern fencing, each of which uses a different kind of weapon and has different rules; thus the sport itself is divided into three competitive scenes: foil, épée, and sabre. Most competitive fencers choose to specialize in one weapon only.
A parry is a fencing bladework maneuver intended to deflect or block an incoming attack.
A foil is one of the three weapons used in the sport of fencing, all of which are metal. It is flexible, rectangular in cross section, and weighs under a pound. As with the épée, points are only scored by contact with the tip, which, in electrically scored tournaments, is capped with a spring-loaded button to signal a touch. A foil fencer's uniform features the lamé. The foil is the most commonly used weapon in competition.
The épée is the largest and heaviest of the three weapons used in the sport of fencing. The modern épée derives from the 19th-century Épée de Combat, a weapon which itself derives from the French small sword.
The remise is a renewal of an attack in fencing. It is performed when one fencer's attack has failed, either because their opponent has parried or they missed. If the attacker immediately continues their attack in the same line, they have executed a remise. The name also is applied to repetitions of other actions which did not initially succeed. The remise is at the bottom of actions in taking priority.
Classical fencing is the style of fencing as it existed during the 19th and early 20th century. According to the 19th-century fencing master Louis Rondelle,
A classical fencer is supposed to be one who observes a fine position, whose attacks are fully developed, whose hits are marvelously accurate, his parries firm and his ripostes executed with precision. One must not forget that this regularity is not possible unless the adversary is a party to it. It is a conventional bout, which consists of parries, attacks, and returns, all rhyming together.
The sabre is one of the three disciplines of modern fencing. The sabre weapon is for thrusting and cutting with both the cutting edge and the back of the blade.
Fencing – family of combat sports using bladed weapons. Fencing is one of four sports which have been featured at every one of the modern Olympic Games. Also known as modern fencing to distinguish it from historical fencing.
In fencing, an attack is "the initial offensive action made by extending the arm and continuously threatening the opponent's target". In order for an attack to be awarded successfully, the fencer must accelerate their hand and feet towards the target. If the fencer does not accelerate the hand or foot, this is a preparation.
The flick is a technique used in modern fencing. It is used in foil and to a lesser extent, épée.
In fencing, a body cord serves as the connection between a fencer and a reel of wire that is part of a system for electrically detecting that the weapon has touched the opponent. There are two types: one for epee, and one for foil and sabre.
The flèche is an aggressive offensive fencing technique used with foil and épée.
The Amateur Fencers League of America (AFLA) was founded on April 22, 1891, in New York City by a group of fencers seeking independence from the Amateur Athletic Union. As early as 1940, the AFLA was recognized by the Fédération Internationale d'Escrime (FIE) and the United States Olympic Committee as the national governing body for fencing in the United States.
The parrying dagger is a category of small handheld weapons from the European late Middle Ages and early Renaissance. These weapons were used as off-hand weapons in conjunction with a single-handed sword such as a rapier. As the name implies they were designed to parry, or defend, more effectively than a simple dagger form, typically incorporating a wider guard, and often some other defensive features to better protect the hand as well. They may also be used for attack if an opportunity arises. The general category includes two more specific types, the sword breaker and trident dagger.
Priority or right of way is the decision criterion used in foil and sabre fencing to determine which fencer receives the touch, or point, when both fencers land a hit within the same short time-frame. After this window, if one fencer had already landed a hit, the electrical scoring apparatus would "lock-out," or fail to record, an opponent's subsequent hit, and thus the one fencer to land a hit is awarded the touch. In épée fencing, if both fencers land valid hits at the same time, they each receive a point. Because of this foil and sabre are considered conventional weapons.
Fencing practice and techniques of modern competitive fencing are governed by the Fédération Internationale d'Escrime (FIE), though they developed from conventions developed in 18th- and 19th-century Europe to govern fencing as a martial art and a gentlemanly pursuit. The modern weapons for sport fencing are the foil, épée, and sabre.
Blade Club (Fencing) Singapore is a commercial fencing club founded 2005 by Henry Koh, an ex-National fencer of Singapore. The club teaches fencing students at all levels, from beginner to advanced fencing in group or individual lesson formats. According to the Club website, the mission of the Blade Club is to help develop fencing in Singapore, focusing on helping students to learn fencing well and to achieve success in competitive fencing. Blade Club has classes for all three weapons in fencing: foil, epee, and sabre. The Club is located along Bukit Timah Road, Singapore.
Tactics are very important to playing well in modern fencing and although technique is important in the sport, using an array of tactics will help fencers make the most of that technique.
This is a glossary of terms used in fencing.
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