Fencing datesback thousands of years to 1200 BCE where swordsmanship was performed as a formof military training for war, combats between two people and pastime by the Romans,Persians, Greeks, and Germanic tribes (Evangelista, 2017). Throughout theMiddle Ages, sword combat became a mastery of skill.
As the popularity of swordfighting increased, sword training schools with fencing masters also developed.Changes to the sword was also made for easier handling and protection of thehuman body so they were no longer used as weapons. The Italians and Frenchaltered the cross-bar of the sword so the bar would not pierce through the protectionlayer worn by the fighter, this added to the ease of handling but lost some ofthe strength of the sword (Castello, 1933). By the end of the 16thcentury, the sword had changed to become lighter and simpler to enhance controland speed.
This fencing style was spread and developed across Europe and soon fencingbecame recognised as a form of art. Schools continued to teach fencing in safetraining environments, emphasising strategy and form. It was only in the late19th century that fencing became an organised sport, using a lightsabre in a duel (Evangelista, 2017). Technologyimpacted the scoring system of fencing majorly as traditional scoring was doneby five individuals giving votes, which led to issues such as cheating. Thiswas when an electronic scoring system was introduced in the late 1800s. Abuzzer was attached to the wall, with a wire wrapped around each fighter’s neckto the handle of their sword.
When a hit was made, the blade of the sword wouldbe pressed back into the handle, completing a circuit and activating thebuzzer. As technology advanced, wireless systems were developed and fighterswore conductive jackets, masks and cuffs to improve the signal. Lights nowappear on the fighter’s mask to signal whether a hit has been successful (Ford,2016). Thereare three types of weapons used in fencing, including the sabre, foil and epee.Competitors must wear the appropriate clothing checked by officials to ensuresafety, including fencing pants and a jacket called a lame, face mask, and fencingglove. Fencers compete on a strip of material that measures five to seven feetwide and 46 feet long and they have to stay on it at all times. A point togiven to each fencer when they touch their opponent in an approved target zone withtheir weapon. The target changes with the different weapons used.
Any part ofthe body counts as a touch in epee fencing, while in sabre fencing only areasabove the waist are within the target zone and in foil fencing, only the trunkof the body can be targeted. A fencing match may last three minutes with thefirst to five touches, or it may last nine minutes with 15 touches. Whenever atouch is made, a new round begins. If a fencer steps out the boundaries, theopponent is awarded one meter of ground on the restart round.
Officials mayalso award a fencer one touch if the opponent displays unethical behaviour, lackof sportsmanship or attacks with both hands.