Fought using two “rapier” styled swords is a West European martial art form known as Fencing. This “weapon” based combat form is said to have developed in Spain. Apparently, Fencing is a sport that is supposed to have been the earliest to be included in the Olympics. Furthermore, this combat style is based on elements belonging to “swordsmanship”. In addition, this combat style became extremely popular especially in Europe during the 19th century with countries like Italy and France creating their own system.
a. History/origin of Fencing:
Apparently, the origins of Fencing can be traced back to “swordsmanship” that was regularly used in Spain. Furthermore, few important books related to this weapon based combat form have been written by Spanish fencers. For example, a book titled “Treatise on Arms” written by Diego De Valera is considered to be the oldest guide ever to be written for western fencing. However, it was in the 18th century during the “Renaissance” period in Italy that fencing developed as a form of combat. This form of swordsmanship then progressed further under the tutelage of the French, and slowly fencing schools in Spain were replaced by those available in France and Italy. Furthermore, it was also during the 18th century that this combat form gradually began to be taught more as a sport than a part of military training. This paradigm shift of fencing from being a component of military training to a combat sport was led by Dominico Angelo who established an academy in Soho, London in the United Kingdom called “Angelo’s School of Arms”. Eventually, it was in the 1896 Olympics held in Athens, Greece that this form of “swordsmanship” was officially included as a sport.
b. Weapon used in Fencing:
The weapons used in fencing include the foil, the epee, and the sabre. In addition, a white jacket, an underarm protector, two body cords and mask cords, knee high socks, glove, and knickers are used by the fighter.
c. Technique involved in Fencing and training availability:
In terms of technique, fencing comprises of what is known as “offensive” and “defensive” tactics. So while the “offensive tactic” is used to attack the opponent, the “defensive tactic” is used to protect one’s self from an attack unleashed by an opponent. Furthermore, there are three basic attacking moves and one basic defensive move that are used in fencing, and they are as follows:
A. Attacking moves:
- Thrust: Is an attacking move initiated by the fighter by extending the arm, and is used to regularly threaten the opponent.
- Feint: Is basically a move in which a fighter initiates a “false attack” thereby causing the opponent to react.
- Lunge: Is a move in which a fighter extends the front leg and pushes the body forward using the back leg.
B. Defensive move:
- Parry: Is a basic defensive technique used by a fighter in which an attack attempted by the opponent is blocked by the fighter.
As for training centers/schools, there are a number of them available around the world for those interested in learning this “weapon” based combat form.