Weapons & Scoring

There are 3 types of weapons used in the modern sport of fencing: foil, épée, and saber. They vary in length of blade, length and type of grip and guard, and scoring target area.

3 fencing weapons

foil target areaFoil

The foil is approximately 35 inches in length and weighs just under a pound. Points are scored with the tip of the foil which must land on the torso. The valid target area in foil is from the shoulders to the groin, front and back. The target area does not include the head, neck, arms or legs. The foil fencer wears a metallic vest called a lamé that covers the target area, so that a valid touch will register on a scoring machine in fencing competitions.


The épée is the descendant of the dueling sword. It weighs approximately 27 ounces and has a larger bell guard and stiffer blade than the foil. Touches are scored with the point of the épée and the target area is the entire body.


The saber is the modern version of the slashing cavalry sword and is similar in length and weight to the foil. The saber is a thrusting weapon as well as a cutting weapon; the tip and the entire blade are used. The target area is from the waist to the top of the head, front and back, and includes the arms, representing the cavalry rider on a horse. The saber fencer’s uniform includes a metallic jacket called a lamé, which covers the target area, so that a valid touch will register on a scoring machine when fencing in competitions.

Benefits of Fencing

Health experts advise people of all ages to engage in some form of cardiovascular (or aerobic) exercise regularly in order to maintain optimum health and longevity. Fencing is a perfect form of cardiovascular exercise—it’s a fast-paced activity that gets the heart pumping and oxygen flowing. It also exercises the mind; learning the offensive and defensive strokes, footwork, and strategies takes practice and concentration. The mental aspects of the sport are as beneficial as the physical. In addition to the health benefits, fencing is fun and can be enjoyed by both young and old, making it a great family activity.

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