How to Choose a Fencing Weapon

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So you’ve finally decided to pick up a sword huh? But like most fencers experienced at least once in their life, you don’t know which sword to pick up!

No worry, choosing is easier than you might think. Although many people do consider foil fencing to be the easiest to learn, the best way to choose which fencing weapon you want to use, is to try all three of them. 

However, not everyone has the accessibility to all three disciplines of the sport. So if you’re stumped on choosing a fencing sword then fear not because we can help!

The Difference In Each Sword

The Foil 

Here’s a great example of what foil fencing is like.
Notice it isn’t as complex and fast, like a sabre bout. But isn’t slow and intense as epee.
  • Higher demand for athleticism and good technique
  • Fast-paced 
  • Perfect for beginners

One of the oldest and more popular styles of fencing is with the foil. Foil fencing is a great mix of athleticism and technique. You might need a little extra stamina when running back and forth with a foil, and an excellent technique to find a way to sneak a hit on your opponent’s torso.

Since foil fencing has the smallest target area, it can be harder to land a touch on your opponent. So you must use both your mind and body to be able to hit your opponent.

Foil is possibly the best for beginning fencers, because it’s more simple, and is a great way to learn how to utilize the fundamentals of fencing. However, it does get more advanced as you play, but still a great way to learn the basics.

So if you’d like a great workout for the body and the mind, you should grab a foil!

The Épée

Here’s a great example of epee fencing!
  • Higher demand for patience and timing
  • Slow placed, and intense
  • Great for beginners

If you’ve ever seen an epee match, you might’ve (more than likely) noticed how slow-paced they are. Or the crazy techniques they use to try and touch the opponent’s foot.

Since the target area is the entire body in epee fencing, the matches are a lot more of a game of wits than speed or athleticism. Fencers are often scared to make moves since the risk is so high, which can call for a long, intense bout.

This also brings crazier techniques like diving for the opponent’s foot, and hand. Epee matches can get very interesting and heated.

However, these bouts can often get frustrating, it’s definitely a battle of patience, and knowing what move to make at the right time. But learning these things is important to any fencing bout, which is why epee fencing is also a popular pick for beginners, it just may be harder to get used to than foil.

If you’re ready to challenge yourself a bit more, then definitely grab the epee!

The Sabre (Saber)

  • High demand for athleticism and advanced technique
  • Fast-paced and complicated
  • OK for beginners

If you’ve ever seen a sabre match, you might be thinking the same thing I think. “What just happened? Wait how’d he get the point. What?” 

Sabre matches can get really confusing with all the cutting and thrusting but can be really fun once you get used to the different ruleset.  

Here’s a great example of sabre fencing, doesn’t it look fun?!

Sabre is not recommended for a beginning fencer, because there are so many different techniques and even rules to get used to. However, it’s almost a completely different experience with the implementation of cutting and is tons of fun to swing the blade in addition to thrusting.

The weapon itself is a lot different, it has a shielded grip, is smaller in size, and is difficult to use with the finesse it takes to fence.

If you don’t think the classical thrusting style of fencing is for you, then with no hesitation you pick up a sabre. However, it does help to learn the basics through the other styles before jumping into sabre fencing. 

If you’re ready for a challenge, and if you’ve ever wanted to swing a sword like a pirate, then you were born to fence with a sabre.

Which Fencing Sword Is Easier To Use?

As a beginner of any size or age, no matter what you’re doing, learning new sports can be difficult. So no matter which of the three weapons you pick up, they’ll all be difficult at first.

Which Fencing Sword Is Easiest To Use

However, the foil and epee are considered the best and easiest way for beginners to learn fencing.

These two are recommended for beginners since it involves the basic rules and techniques that are used in all three disciplines. Sabre is definitely more difficult because it involves skills from epee and foil, plus much more.

It may be intimidating, learning a new sport at any stage in your life, maybe you wish your parents would put you into fencing clubs as a child. But most fencers haven’t actually experienced that either, and are just like you.

If you choose to go with the fast-paced, explosive foil, the heated and tricky epee, or the difficult but fun sabre, whether you join a club or fence at home, you’re guaranteed to fall in love when you finally get to swing a blade.

So what are you still here for? Gear up, grab a sword, and start fencing and become the next prodigy!

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