As per Alexander Massialas I would describe Sword fencing foil as probably the most similar to classic dual of modern age.

For visual please refer the video –

Video by Alexander Massialas

Target areas – BIB, Back, Torso,

The Blade –

  • 90 cm,
  • It is made of special steel.
  • It is stiff for manoeuvrability, flexible for flick attacks

The uniform – Since past it has always been white and includes

  • Mask,
  • Lame,
  • Shoes,
  • Breeches,
  • Glove,
  • Jacket

Fencers are identified by the flag on the uniform mask and last name on their back

The Bout in sword fencing foil– At the start of the bout, both fencers always hook themselves to the reel, they immediately go to test each other target areas and after that they walk to En-Garde line and salute each other, then they put their mask on and get into their En-Garde position and wait for referee to say “Pret-Allez”

The Piste for sword fencing– The bout takes place on a raised piste which is 2 meter wide and 14 meter long. The extreme end of Piste is called off-Piste, The middle of the Piste we have center line, slightly away from center line on both side we have En-Garde-line, then we have warning line. Fall off the side of the piste would retreat 1-metre. Fall off the end of the piste would fetch a point to opponent.

Scoring in sword fencing foil– The first fencer to 15 touches wins. In a Bout there are three 3-minute periods. When the time elapses and the fencers are in a Tie, we enter sudden death over time. One fencer is given priority at random. If no one gets a hit, then the fencer with priority wins.

Any attack in foil generally ends with lunge (the lunge is the most common way to attack – kicking forward with the front foot and pushing the body forward with the back leg, straightening the arm)

When a fencer scores a touch, their light goes off. If both lights goes off, which means both touches at same time, the referee decides who gets the point by “Right of way”.

Right of way in Sword Fencing Foil – E.g. Defender attached without a parry, attacker gets the point.

On defensive side, the way you wave your weapon to hit the attacker is you hit them in preparation. The defender has the right to attack during the preparation of the attacker and defender gets the point. Other way to defend yourself is to start a counter attack, which means locking the attacker’s blade and then hitting them. You tried your opponent miss their attack and then you hit them. But in the counter attack if they also hit you then they will get the point.

Foil in particular includes lot of strategy. It is a great mix between athleticism and explosiveness and also being cerebral and analytical. It is a game of athletic chess you know. You are playing a game of chess in your mind but you are still acting it out with your action on piste

Mal-sun Marletto – Head Coach and Owner at Farmington Valley Fencing Academy – FVFA had further added about the video saying

“Nice video! But the offensive action after a parry is riposte, and not a counter attack. A counter-attack in sword fencing is an attack usually without blade contact – initiated after the other fencer has already started to finish their attack.

A counter attack in sword fencing does not have right-of-way, so the only way the fencer gets a point is if the fencer who has right-of-way completely misses (not only off target) and the counter attacker hits on target.

The riposte has right-of-way because right-of-way transfers when a fencer successfully parries an opponent’s attack.

Basically I like to think of right-of-way as “immunity”. If you have it and you hit your opponent, it is always going to be your action that counts, as long as you hit and it doesn’t matter if you opponents hits you or not. If you do not have right-of-way then you better be the only one to hit or its never going to be your touch.

It is just a terminology issue in the video that can be problematic and confusing. ”

To summaries it all –

Features of foil weapon –

  • Flexible rectangular blade
  • Approximately 35 inches in length
  • It weighs about less than one pound

Target area of foil weapon –

  • Player scores point with the tip of the blade.
  • The tip must land within the torso of the body

Target area in detail (valid target area in foil) –

  • The valid target is the torso which is essentially from the shoulders to the groin, front and back.
  • It does not include the arms, neck, head and legs

Uniform of a Foil fencer –

  • It includes a metallic vest which is also called Lame. It covers the valid target as explained above. The metallic vest would help register weapon tip touch on the scoring machine.

Tip of the blade and its networking with uniform-

  • A small, spring-loaded tip is attached to the point of the foil weapon. This tip is connected to a wire inside the blade.
  • The fencer wears a body cord inside his uniform which connects the foil to a reel wire, connected to the scoring machine

Reading the score on machine –

  • There are two scoring lights on the machine. One shows a green light when a fencer is hit, and one shows a red light when her opponent is hit.
  • A touch landing outside the valid target area (that which is not covered by the lame) is indicated by a white light. These “off target” hits do not count in the scoring, but they do stop the fencing action temporarily