Why is fencing called fencing

Fencing - rules

Gymnastics Club Hameln
from 1880 e.V.

1. Basic rules

A battle has 5 hits with a fight time of 4 minutes (round-the-clock battles) or 15 hits with a fight time of 9 minutes (direct elimination). The fencer who reaches 5 or 15 hits first, or who has the most hits at the end of the fight time, wins. If there is a tie after the fight time, the fight time is extended by one minute and the next valid hit decides. If there is no hit, the lot decides.

In the age group of the schoolchildren, the battles are only 4 hits (3 min). Only the effective fighting time is measured. Any hit interrupts the battle.

Fighting takes place on the fencing track, also known as the planche, which is 14 m long and 2 m wide. Leaving the fencing lane to the rear results in a penalty hit, leaving to the side results in loss of ground.At the beginning of the fight and after each valid hit, the fencers stand behind the starting lines.The fencing lane is made of electrically conductive material and is connected to the reporting system so that hits not appear on the web.

The referee in fencing is called the umpire. In the case of foil and saber, he has the task of deciding on the right to hit.
The fencers are connected by cables to the electronic reporting system, which automatically displays hits. A valid hit is indicated by a red or green lamp on the side of the fencer who hit (new regulation since 1.1.2000); an invalid hit (with foil) by a white lamp.

Tournaments usually begin with rounds in which every fencer must fight against all other fencers in his round (usually 6-7 participants). After each round, the worst fencers after victories are eliminated. This continues until there are 64 fencers left. Then we move on to direct elimination. There are fought for 15 hits and the loser is eliminated from the tournament. One speaks of the 64, 32, 16, 8 tableau or the semifinals and final.
The procedure will be modified accordingly for tournaments with fewer participants. Possibly the winner is only determined by the round-robin procedure.
Fencing is an Olympic one-to-one sport.

2. Fencing lane and battle line-up

The train itself is a mat made of electrically conductive material (usually copper) and is connected to the detector (= display device) by a cable. As a result, the device does not indicate impacts on the web.
The following graphic shows the dimensions of the track:

Line up of fencers

The fencer first called by the umpire stands on the right as seen from the umpire.
But if he is left-handed, he stands on the left and draws the chairman's attention to this.
Reason: If a left-hander fights against a right-hander, and the left-hander is on the right, then the chairman sees both of them from behind, i.e. the fencers cover what is actually going on with their bodies.
But if the left-hander is on the left, the chairman sees both of them from the front. So he can follow what is happening better.

Beginning and resumption of combat

Both fencers check their equipment before the start, greet the opponent, the chairman and the spectators with the fencer's salute and stand at their starting line. If the personal equipment (e.g. weapon or body cable) does not work before the start of the battle, then there is a warning (yellow card). If the replacement does not work either, then there is a penalty hit (red card). If anything breaks during the battle, there is no warning.
After each valid hit, the fencer will return to the starting line; after each invalid hit and any other interruption, the bout will continue from where it was interrupted.

Leaving the track during the battle

If a fencer leaves the lane sideways during a fight, the fight is interrupted, the person concerned receives a warning (yellow card) and has to back away one meter. The opponent comes forward one meter accordingly.
If a fencer leaves the lane during the fight backwards over the end line with both legs, the fight is interrupted and the person concerned receives a penalty hit (red card), i.e. the opponent is awarded a hit.

3. Hit priority and hit display

Hit priority

For an outsider, epee fencing is certainly the easiest weapon to watch. If one of the colored (red / green) lamps lights up, 99% of the time a valid hit has been made (or two hits if both lights are on).

In the foil it gets more complicated. First, there are the white lamps that indicate hits outside the valid hit area, e.g. on the arm. Second, there are no double hits like in the epee. If both have scored validly, the hit will only be awarded to the one who had the so-called hit priority. If no one had the privilege, no hit is given.

How does the hit priority work?

The starting point is that nobody has the privilege. The first person to start an attacking action acquires the hit priority. Attack action in the sense of the regulations includes: line *, removal of the opponent's blade (blow *, tie *, etc.) or coupé *.

The opponent can now only acquire the hit priority if he parries (fends off) and rips off the attack, i.e. pushes back immediately. If the parade is not followed by an * immediate riposte *, then the privilege expires and we have the neutral situation again. Attacking with your arm drawn does not earn you a hit priority. The hit priority expires if the arm is withdrawn during the attack, or if the attack is aborted or interrupted. The opponent can use this to counterattack with hit priority.

4. Counting and timing in combat

In the preliminary round (round system):
Regular combat time is 4 minutes. 5 hits on one side end the battle.
In epee fencing there are so-called double hits, i.e. in a single action a hit falls on both sides within 1/20 to 1/25 of a second. In this case, both hits are scored. Double hits when the score is 4: 4 are no longer counted.

In the case of timing and difference in hits, the winner is the one who is in the lead at this point in time. For example, if the score is 3: 2, the following is entered in the panel: V3: N2

If the time runs out and there is a tie, the battle is extended by a further minute. Before the extension begins, one of the two fencers is awarded an advantage by drawing lots. The winner is whoever places the first valid (single) hit. If there is no decisive hit during the extra minute, then the winner is whoever had the advantage. The entry in the tableau takes place as above.

In the direct elimination (K.O. system):

The maximum fighting time is 9 minutes, after every 3 minutes there is a 1-minute break.

15 hits on one side end the battle. Double hits (swords) that are scored at 14:14 are no longer counted.
In the case of timing and difference in hits, the winner is the one who is in the lead at this point in time.
In the event of a time lapse and a tie, the winner is the one who is better for the "K.O." was set, who therefore fought the better preliminary round.
Exception: In the final battle for first place, the first minute is extended.

Timing during the battle:
The battle time runs from the command "Go!" / "Allez!" of the chairman and is basically "stop!" / "Old!" stopped. A "stop!" / "Old!" occurs every time a lamp lights up, or if the umpire deems it necessary (e.g. in the event of unsportsmanlike conduct, hopeless combat, technical defect).
The timekeeping is done either by the chairman himself using a hand stop watch or by a clock integrated in the detector. The latter has the advantage that the device automatically stops the clock when a lamp lights up and automatically blocks the hit display when the time expires, but otherwise the clock must be operated by a helper who may not always react immediately to the chairman's commands. However, there are also devices on the market that can be controlled by the chairman by remote control.