Fencing, art of attack and defense with a sword or similar weapon. Modern fencing
is a recreational and competitive sport, but its rules and techniques are derived
from those originally developed for efficient swordplay in dueling (see Duel).
During the Middle Ages (5th century to 15th century) the sword was an offensive weapon
used for cracking armor, and the shield was used as a defense. After gunpowder came
into general use, heavy defensive armor became obsolete, and the sword became a defensive
as well as an offensive weapon. In the 16th century the rapier was introduced in
Italy, and the art of fencing was rapidly systematized in fencing schools. A dagger
in the other hand, and later a folded cloak, replaced the shield.
Fencing, which is also known as modern fencing to distinguish it from historical
fencing, is a family of combat sports using bladed weapons.
Foil—a light thrusting weapon that targets the torso, including the back and shoulders,
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, and not scored. Only a single hit can be
scored by either fencer at one time. If both fencers hit ...