As part of the build up to the Olympics this year, SportsCover Direct will be publishing a series of blogs shedding some light on some of the lesser known Olympic sports and showing how you can get involved!
Fencing became a sport in the 15th century however swordplay had been practiced for thousands of years before in many battles and warfare. From the 16th to 18th century duels were common with sometimes fatal consequences but innovations in the sport meant it grew in popularity in the latter years. The ‘foil’ was invented which is the flattened tip weapon used today, a set of rules governing target areas was introduced and a wire mesh mask had to be worn all increasing the safety of the sport. Fencing was introduced to the Olympics for the first time in the 1896 Athens games and has remained a staple sport of the tournament ever since.
Who can play?
Anyone can have a go at fencing – however metal fencing must take place under the supervision of a qualified coach and correct clothing and equipment should be worn and used at all times.
Fencing is not an expensive sport to participate in. The main cost is membership to a fencing club however this price will include the cost of coaching and use of equipment. Some participants might want to buy their own equipment once they have acclimatised to the sport and this can be done fairly inexpensively through reputable retailers.
As previously stated most clubs will have equipment already for you to use. There are three types of sword like instrument used known as a foil, sabre and epee. The foil is a light thrusting weapon that targets the torso, including the back, but not the arms. The sabre is a light cutting and thrusting weapon that targets the entire body above the waist, excluding the hands. The epée is a heavier thrusting weapon that targets the entire body Participants usually decide which weapon to concentrate on in training. Participants will also need a mask and glove for safety and protection. If you decide to do a competition, then you will need a full outfit and depending on whether the scoring will be electrical these might need to be able to be linked up to a body cord.
When do you play?
Fencing is played inside making in an all year round sport, played throughout the seasons.
Fencing is fast, exciting and athletic keeping the mind and body fit. It can help develop good co-ordination, balance and flexibility as well as giving a good cardiovascular workout. Due to the nature of the sport you will also need good concentration and mental discipline.
Team GB prospects for Rio 2016
Although the fencing teams chosen to represent Team GB at this summer’s won’t be announced until June, names to watch out for are Richard Kruse, Alex Tofalides, Marcus Mepstead and Ben Peggs.
If this has inspired, you to give fencing a go then check out the British Fencing http://www.britishfencing.com website to find your local fencing club and more about the sport!