Excerpts from US Fencing Association website - Fencing 101 


This revised material was originally published in 1992 in a booklet issued by USFA written by Elaine Cheris.



The sport of fencing is a uniquely classic sport. It has a history, drama, romance, style, art, plus all of the advantages of an active physically demanding sport. Mentally it is mind consuming, allowing not a moment’s break.


The Youth Program

The youth program of USA Fencing is designed

to provide an introduction for your child to one

of the most fascinating, exciting and safest

sports. Fencing develops discipline, balance,

coordination,and sportsmanship. Fencing

helps youth develop quicker reflexes and t

he ability to make lighting fast analyses

of tactical situations. 


Fencing... the Game

Fencing is played on a metal strip, or piste, which measures approximately 2 meters wide and 14 meters long. Points (or touches) scored in a bout are registered on an electronic scoring machine. The machine receives an electrical impulse when the spring tip of the foil or epee is depressed. The strip is grounded to prevent touches being accidentally scored on the playing surface.


Object of the Bout

The object of a fencing bout (“game”) is to effectively score 15 points (in direct elimination play) or five points (in preliminary pool play) before your opponent, or have a higher score than your opponent when the time limit expires. Points are received by making a touch in the opponent’s target area. The target area for epee this is the entire body except the head and  for foil this is the torso. Direct elimination matches consist of three three‐minute periods with a one‐minute break between each in epee and foil.  Beginner fencers catch onto the fencing sport rules as they experience  the fencing bout in each of their fencing classes or lessons.


The Three Skills of Fencing

  1. Blade work is perhaps the most difficult of the essential skills to master. It permits a skilled fencer to deceive his opponent and reach the target despite attempts of the opponent to defend herself.

  2. Foot work, the most physically demanding of the skills, is the one which permits a fencer to move into appropriate positions and distances to allow him to effectively utilize blade work to touch the opponent and to allow him to "get away" to avoid the opponent's attack.

  3. Tactics consist of the plans and counter plans utilized by fencers to coordinate use of blade work and footwork against the fencing style of opponents.


Equipment Fencers Need

You need not buy the most expensive equipment for your child to be protected and enjoy the sport. Cheyenne Fencing Society & Modern Pentathlon Center offers packages for equipment purchase.


Following is a list of  required equipment. 


  • Mask

  • Underarm protector

  • Breast Protector (mandatory for women)

  • Padded Jacket 

  • Knickers 

  • Glove (no holes except for body cord. Must cover approximately half the forearm)

  • Long white socks that reach the bottom of your knickers ‐ soccer socks work well.

  • Fencing shoes or sneakers ( indoor soccer shoes work well too)

  • Minimum two working weapons for competitions

  • Minimum two working body cords for competitions

  • Fencing bag (to carry your equipment in)


Put identification on all of your equipment!!!!



With electronic scoring, we no longer depend on (five) judges to see or hear our touches, which means we can move much quicker..... Today's fencing match is much faster than yesterday's and much more efficient..... just a single referee calls penalties and analyzes actions to determine priorities.


From "Fencing - Steps to Success" by Elaine Cheris



Wash as you would any other whites – do not use chlorine bleach. Do not put them in a dryer. Masks may occasionlly be washed in dishwashers (make sure to wash by itself) although this can start rust or deteriorate the glues. You can remove the innner lining and wash.  Wash gloves and socks per normal wash. 


In each progressive step, the author, Elaine Cheris, explains the importance of a major skill, presents sequential illustrations to show you how to perform the skill, and then provides a series of drills to refine and master the skill.

Click to order your copy now!

The mission of USA Fencing is to serve and foster the growth, participation and development of domestic fencing at all levels and to achieve sustained international success.


Fencing is known as physical chess