What to expect at an event

A first tournament can be quite confusing so it is important to listen carefully and ask for help from the information desk if you are stuck.

A competition is split into two main rounds.

  1. Groups (called Poules) where a group of between 4 and 7 fencers will fence each other and then the results are compiled to create a list of the highest scoring to lowest scoring fencers. Each fight (called a bout) is to five points (hits)
  2. Knockout (called Direct Elimination) in this round, the fencers will fight to between 10 and 15 points depending on age and they will have three periods of either 2 or 3 minutes with 1 minute break for a drink and quick chat with parent or coach. During this round, only the winning fencer goes on to fight again until there is eventually only 1 fencer remaining (the winner).

Sometimes, age groups or genders are mixed together when numbers in a particular category are low, however, most still have medals awarded for the individual categories.

At the end of the tournament, medals are presented to the 4 finalists. (Gold, Silver and 2 third places Bronze)

How a fencing bout takes place.

  • The referee calls two fencers.
  • The fencers go to each end of the piste and fasten into the electrical system. Ask for help if you do not know how to do this.
  • The fencers attach their weapons to their body wires and then approach the middle of the piste.
  • The referee will direct the fencers to test their weapons and the method for doing so is different for foil, sabre and epee. Ask for help from the referee if you don’t know what to do.
  • The fencers return to the engarde line and salute the opponent, referee and spectators (if any).
  • The fencer then places his mask on his head and when instructed by the referee he will get into the engarde position.
  • The referee will say “engarde, ready, fence” and at this point the two fencers begin and continue until a hit lands or the referee says halt. They will repeat this until the required number of points has been reached by one fencer or the time runs out. Remember in the knock-out rounds, there may be breaks for a short drink.
  • The referee will announce the winner and both fencers salute each other and shake hands. They should also thank the referee and shake hands with him too.
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