While jabbing another person with a sword while they try to jab you may sound dangerous, fencing is one of the least dangerous sports. As long as the right equipment is used, you shouldn’t worry about being injured by the sword.
So the question must be asked,
Is Fencing Dangerous?
No. Fencing is not dangerous when the proper safety equipment is used. The only real danger one faces when they fence are the same as any other sport; injuries like tendinitis or a sprained ankle.
Do Fencing Swords Hurt?
In professional fencing, the tip of each sword is covered by a metal button that activates a light when pressed. This indicates a touch and is usually not painful at all.
You might think that a sword jabbing you can do some serious damage, even if the tip is blunt. However, the sword is flexible enough that it bends whenever contact is made.
The most damage a sword can do is a mere bruise if it hits a soft spot.
Common Injuries In Fencing
Although major injuries can be avoided easily, it’s common for fencers to get minor injuries. Like bruises and sprains.
Often a fencer may get strained muscles if they aren’t flexible enough since some movements require a considerable amount of flexibility.
Fencer’s elbow, another common injury acquired from years of holding a sword. This injury is a form of tendinitis in the elbow of a fencer’s sword arm, although it’s not as serious compared to possible injuries in other combat sports.
Properly stretching is a good way to avoid ever getting injured in fencing. Stretching the hips, groin, hamstrings, and shoulders before any action should prevent most common muscle strains.
Arguably, the best way to avoid injury is to make sure you have the mandatory safety equipment, or any extras you think you might need.
Mandatory safety equipment in fencing includes:
An overlooked piece of equipment, the glove is vital in protecting your sword hand from being swatted or jabbed while in combat.
Especially during sabre matches, your sword hand is deep into the action where swords are being swung violently, and can potentially be injured. The fencing glove is vital to preventing hand injuries.
Every piece of equipment is needed, but masks may be the most important piece as it protects the most vulnerable parts of your body (head and neck). This piece is clearly essential.
The jacket is important in fencing. It not only allows the wire to run through the button and connect to the sword, allows judges to see touches against the white surface easier, but it also is thick and heavy enough to protect the body from injuries.
Although the legs aren’t as vulnerable most of the time, it is a target area in épée and also may get caught up in any action accidentally. So fencing pants are a necessity in order to protect legs from injuries.
Other equipment that may help you stay safe while fencing includes;
- Breast plate
– Fencing equipment that protects the chest from the blade
- Braces for joint pain (elbows, knees etc.)
– Help alleviate pain and strain on the joints
- Compression gear
– Not only good for preventing muscle strain, chafing, and stiffness but can also act as an extra layer of protection from the blade.
As long as the proper safety measures are taken, fencing is one of the safest combat sports. While sports like boxing or mixed martial arts can leave you with life-lasting injuries like concussions, these types of injuries are unheard of in fencing.
With that being said, it is important to remember that fencing is a combat sport, and accidents may happen, therefore the risk of injury still exists.
Can You Die While Fencing?
So accidents happen right? Some fencers may fail to take the right precautions, so what happens then?
You might be wondering, can you die from fencing?
While it is possible to die from fencing, fortunately, these accidents are uncommon. You’re more likely to fall victim to a fatal accident in other sports like football, or boxing, the answer is still yes.
Since the 1930s, there has been a total of eight tragic deaths in fencing. One of the most famous of these was that of Vladimir Smirnov
If you’re new to fencing you may not have heard of the story of Vladimir Smirnov, one of the top fencers in the late 1900s.
In a professional match, Smirnov was fencing against Matthias Behr. Behr went in for a lunge attack and as contact was made his sword broke.
Unfortunately, against all odds, the broken shard of sword penetrated Smirnov’s mask, then his eye socket, and went into his brain. He passed away 9 days later in the hospital.
This unfortunate accident sparked an immediate change and improvement in safety equipment in fencing. Since then there have been no more tragedies in professional fencing.
Hearing about these tragedies might make you think fencing is not actually that safe, however, these are only a small number of accidents.
Compared to a more popular sport like football, where there have been 33 deaths in the NCAA alone from the year 2000 to 2016, fencing has a minuscule amount of deaths.
As long as proper precautions are practiced, as done in any sport, fencing is completely stretched. So don’t forget to gear up and stretch before any action!