is a heavier weapon, ideal for competitors who are taller and stronger, and with a longer range. This weapon best represents the duels that gave rise to the sport of fencing centuries ago. Touches may be landed on the adversary’s whole body, although only hits with the point of the épée score points.
Epee has the fewest rules and no right of way, so this weapon is very heavily strategy-based and the most cautious in terms of the pace of the bouts and general fencing style. To an outside observer, not much will happen for about 45 seconds and then each fencer will do 4 things at once and a touch (or double) is scored. People who enjoy the strategic game of fencing (thinking 5 steps ahead, doing weird confusing things, drawing opponents into traps, etc) tend to enjoy epee.
History of Epee
The original French foil was known as the fleuret, from a fancied resemblance between its leather button and flower bud. The foil of that period was appreciably shorter than its modern counterpart. Liancour, the famous French master, advocated the use of several different types of foil in the salle, including a heavy, guardless weapon for the pupil which was also shorter than that of the master, whose own weapon, for the purpose of avoiding excessive fatigue, was lighter than usual. Within the last decade or so, one prominent London fencing master was known to make his pupils take their lessons with a monstrosity of his own devising, two blades somehow fitted into a single hilt, which occasioned the muscles of the sword-arm the most exquisite agony, the idea probably being that if they could manipulate a weapon of this weight, they could manipulate anything.
The foil has been the dominant factor in the development of modern fencing. Thirty or forty years ago, the fencing masters were still reluctant to give sabre or epee lessons except to those about to participate in matches or competitions, of which there were then vastly fewer. For them, the foil reigned supreme – precise, formal and elegant.