Maybe, you’ve never fenced before, or maybe you’ve only fenced at home…
Well, don’t worry, because even the best fencers asked this question at least once in their life. And it’s not like the setting for a fencing match is common knowledge.
Where Does Fencing Take Place?
Fencing takes place on a 14 meter (45.9 foot) long strip, called a piste. It consists of a centerline, en garde lines, and the warning zone.
The piste is usually indoors in a gymnasium, alongside a set of judges, directors, and an audience.
In the middle of the piste is the centerline. This line just marks the middle of the strip and doesn’t really play a significant role to the fencers. Although it does help to know where the center is, just to avoid going too far backward or forward.
Each side of the piste is identical, so after the centreline going in any direction, you’ll see the en garde line.
This line is 2 meters (6.5 feet) away from the centerline and is where the fencers begin their duel. The two fencers stand at the en garde lines, at the beginning of the match, and stand still until the director says “allez”.
Now, depending on which style of fencing you play, the next line may be a bit further back. The next marking on the piste is the warning line, which for an epee or sabre fencer, would be 3 meters (9.8 feet), and for foil, there’s an extra meter of space.
The warning line is to let you know, you’re about to step out of bounds.
After the warning line, is the end of the piste. Which is 1, or 2 meters after the warning line. Once you step out of bounds, you can either forfeit a point or forfeit space.
Where Can I Find a Piste?
If you’re looking for a place to fence, you may have to sign up for a fencing club. Most places offer guest passes and equipment.
If you’re not into finding a club, or there isn’t one near you, but you still want to fence, there are a few ways you can fence at home.
As long as you have the proper safety equipment, and swords, you can practice fencing in a field, a gymnasium, or wherever you can! Get creative with it!
Are There Fencing Competitions?
Absolutely! There are fencing competitions across the globe, and especially during the summer Olympics.
If you can’t find any clubs or coaches in your area, search up the FIE (International Fencing Federation), and sign up for a competition near you.
There are also fencing contests throughout the NCAA, so if you’re a student looking for a team to fence with, we posted a list of fencing schools throughout the league.
Where did you first discover fencing? Let us know with a comment or connect with us on Instagram!