From the begining, way back to that point in time that primitive man discovered the pointy stick, man has been trying to do bad things to his enviroment, outher peopple, and himself, by the uses of pointy sharp things. This really got out of control when the sharps became metal and had an edge as well as a point. It was about the same time as the invention of the sword that people looked back at all the stabbing of things they had done and decided that that was all quite barbaric. To rectify this barbarity the got together and drew up some rules on how to kill eachouther with this newfangled sword thingy. Thus begain the era of the dules.
Although it is no longer acceptable to kill or even maim your opponet at the end of a round, it is still these "civilized" rules that govern the modern sport of fencing.
The three types of swords with wich one can fense.....
The sword that any beginer is most likly to use is called the foil. It is about 1 meter in length and weighing in around 7Kg. It is moddled after a clasical rapier, you may only score with the tip of the blade. Also the valied target area is only the torso, no head, arm, or leg points allowed. This is a good weapon to learn how to control and practice your speed with but most championships and compititions use the epie'.
The epie' is the sword of compition, it is slightly longer (approching 1.5 meters in lengths) and a more elaborate hand gaurd. The target area for the epie' is the entire body, any touch is a valied score.
The last blade in common competive usage is the saber. The saber is a throwback to the old cavelery sword, short with a full hand gaurd a score may be made either with the point or blade of the saber. Valied target areas are from the waist up only, this again is a throwback to horse mounted combat.
Anatomy of a fencing bout
A bout is the term for the contest to score upon your oponet without being scored upon. The bout lasts till some one scores three touches. After a score both sides stop and resume starting positions. THe strip on wich the bout takes place upon is about 1 meter wide and and around 4 meters long. Most stradagy lies in raw speed and control of the blade not in deception or misleads. Although a lot of practice rounds are still decided by way of a judge almost all compition use an electronic system that is very accurate about determining touches.