A lighter, more flexible version of the military sabre. unlike Epee and foil hits can be scored by using edge ‘cuts’ or point thrusts.Only, hits scored on the opponent’s body above the waist, arm and head count as valid.
Points are scored by the fencer who hits the target area which is indicated in red and has “right of attack”.
The most important rule in fencing foil is that the attack must be made by extending and straightening the sword-arm so that the weapon threatens the target.(Remember the lunge starts with a straightening of the arm before the feet move). This gives the attacker the “right of way”. The person attacked must then defend him/herself. He is not allowed just to simply hit back. The attacker loses the right of way if s/he bend his/her arm again, or if s/he stops threatening the target, or if his/her opponent parried or beats his blade so that it is no longer threatening the target. A bout should look like a backwards and forwards exchange of attacks and parries, not like two bulls charging at each other.
The History of Saber
In the eighteenth century the small-sword was regarded as essentially the gentlemen’s weapon and from association with it, the foil enjoyed much the same prestige; the sabre was considered to be a rather crude affair for the military. The Napoleonic Wars aroused a passing enthusiasm for edged weapons, but this quickly faded again. George Roland poured scorn on the sabre and most traditionally minded foilists affected to regard it with disdain. Only at the nineteenth century’s end did such great Italian Masters as Radaelli and Magrini confer respectability on their chosen weapon, since when it has gained steadily in popularity.
The present day weapon is extremely light and hits may be scored not only with the fore-edge, but with the top third of the back edge and the point as well. The contemporary blade is perfectly straight, but within the writer’s memory, many still possessed a vestigial curve which, according to the rules, might not deviate more than 4 cm from the straight line. The curved, triangular guard, reminiscent of the old basket-hilt, must now be absolutely smooth; formerly, it was often perforated, grooved, patterned or embossed.