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Fencing History

What is the history of Fencing? What are its origins? Where did Fencing come from? Who invented it? Here is the history of Fencing.

Fencing History

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What are the basic rules of Fencing?

Inspired by medieval duels, the goal of fencing is to "stab"your opponent, in order to score a point. Thankfully, times have changed, and stabbing your opponent will not actually hurt him, which makes of fencing a great sport! There are three different disciplines in fencing, which are three different types of weapons to fence with; those are: foil, saber, and epee. Although they all have a common goal, to touch the opponent with the weapon, the disciplines vary greatly in where athletes can touch each other, the way to do it, and the rules deciding which athletes get the point in case they both touch each other. For example, in epee, fencers can touch their opponents from head to toe, only using the tip of their weapon, while in saber fencers can use both the tip and the side of their weapon to touch opponents, which they can only do above an opponent's waist. The rules and weapons of fencing can be very complex and detailed, so take a look at other tutorials on the subject!Fencing Rules

When was Fencing Established?

Sword Fighting was always part of human history. Duels and wars were fought with weapons and moves that may resemble those of modern fencing. That way, soldiers used swords to fight in wars and kill their enemies, rather than to play a sport as it is today. The basic fencing theory started as ways to train those military men for wars. With the evolution of firearms and other warfare technologies, sword combats became less important, and fencing slowly transformed into a sport, rather than military training. It was around the 18th century that it became an activity focused on competition, health, and well being. Slowly, many fencing schools were founded, and fencing transitioned into a sport. Being the ancient sport that it is, fencing has been a part of the Olympics since its first modern era edition, in 1896, and it has been featured in every single edition ever since.

Who Invented Fencing?

Fencing wasn't created or invented by anyone, but rather slowly evolved from a way to fight into a sport. That way, fencing does not have one single inventor, but rather many important people who made valuable contributions that helped transform it into the sport that we know today. One of those people was Domenico Angelo, an italian fencing master who founded a fencing academy in London, in 1763. Although Angelo's goal was still to teach real battle techniques, he emphasized the athletic and sporting elements of fencing more than anyone had ever done, playing a big role in turning fencing into a sport. Domenico Angelo is the first in a long list of fencing masters that innovated, invented, theorized, and taught fencing, all that in making it into a sport that changed so much from its original form.

Which Country started Fencing

Just like we can't trace back the invention of fencing to one individual, it is not possible to trace its start to a single country, but rather to important places that played a role in fencing's evolution into a sport, most of them in Europe. As mentioned above, an important moment in fencing history was the foundation of Domenico Angelo's academy in London. Although he had his academy in London, Angelo's home country of Italy is one of the most important places in fencing history. In Italy the sport became wildly popular, and many italian masters contributed in fencing's evolution. Similar to the Italian school, the French masters were also crucial in the sport's development. Generally, fencing started in Europe, with big influence from schools like the italian and the french.

Since fencing has an extensive history that dates back to the medieval times, it is impossible to point a specific period in which fencing started to become popular. Since it was always a way to battle, the sport was always popular in the military, and it continues to be. The popularity of fencing can also be related to the popularity of the Olympics, as it was always an event in it. Since fencing as a sport has its roots in Europe, it can also be said that it has always been popular in the continent, and that Europeans helped make it popular in other parts of the world.

Since the fencing evolved as a sport in Europe, it is no surprise that the most traditional countries in the sport come from Europe. Nonetheless, countries like the United States and South Korea have broken into the fencing scene as powerhouses. Somethig particular about the sport, is that different countries are more popular in specific weapons than others. For example, South Korea has a big tradition in Saber, and Estonia has a history of having great epee athletes.

  • Italy
  • France
  • Russia
  • Hungary
  • Germany
  • South Korea
  • United States

Fencing History Key Facts and Timeline

  • B.C.: Evidence of people using swords to fight in Egypt
  • 1471: The first fencing manual is published in Spain. Fencing was still not seen as a sport by that time.
  • 1650: The fleuret is invented as a practice weapon. The fleuret would evolve into one of fencing's three weapons, the foil.
  • 1763: Domenico Angelo founded his fencing academy in London. This is considered to be an important episode in fencing's shift into a sport.
  • 1780: French fencing master La Boessiere invents the fencing mask. The mask is used to this day and it would be impossible to practice the sport without it.
  • 1880: French fencing master Camille Prevost collects and writes the basic fencing conventions.
  • 1896: The first Olympic Games of the modern era are organized in Athens. Men's saber and men's foil are featured in it.
  • 1913: The international fencing federation (FIE) is founded.
  • 1924: Women's fencing is introduced in the Olympics with a foil event.
  • 1988: Saber gets an electric touch aid already, which indicates when a fencer touches an opponent. The technology, which was already present in foil, made saber easier to understand and more fair.
  • 2004: Women's saber becomes an olympic event. With that, all three weapons have men's and women's events in the Olympics.


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