What does a hit mean in fencing

The rules for sport fencing are set by the world federation FIE (Federation Internationale d'Escrime).

The age groups in fencing

U11: 9-10 years, fencing with a short blade (size 0)

U13: 11-12 years; eligible to start in the U15

U15: 13-14 years; Eligible to start in the U17 and U20

U17: 15-16 years; eligible to start in the U20s and seniors; international name: "Cadets"

U20: 17-19 years; Eligible to start with the seniors; international name: "Junior"

U23: 20-22 years; Special ranking among seniors

Seniors: from 20 years; international name: "Senior"

Veterans: from 40 years; international name: "Veterans"

  • AK I = 40-49 years
  • AK II = 50-59 years
  • AK III = 60-69 years
  • AK IV = 70-79 years

The following applies to all age groups: The year of birth is decisive! The change to the next older class takes place at the beginning of the new season.

The fencing track - officially known internationally as "Piste", colloquially also as "Planche" - is 14 meters long and 1.50 meters wide and is delimited by the side and end lines. The starting lines are each two meters from the center line. This is where the fencers line up at the beginning of the bout and after each valid hit.

If a fencer leaves the lane on the sidelines, the fight is interrupted and the fencer has to back away one meter. If a fencer leaves the lane with both legs over the end line to the rear, the fight is also interrupted and the opponent is awarded a hit. A goal is also conceded if the fencer leaves the lane to the side within the last meter of his half of the lane. A warning line or hatched zone shows him the last two meters of the fencing piste. The track itself consists of an electrically conductive material, for example a copper mat or aluminum, and is connected to the earth of the detector by a cable. As a result, the device does not indicate impacts on the web.

In the preliminary rounds ...

... the maximum fighting time is 3 minutes net. Whoever hits 5 hits first wins the battle. Double hits (only available in epee fencing!) That are scored when the score is 4: 4 are no longer counted. In the youngest age group "pupils" (U12) the battles go on 4 hits.

In a direct elimination (K.O. system) ...

... the maximum fighting time is 9 minutes net. After every 3 minutes there is a 1-minute break. Whoever hits 15 hits first wins the battle. Double hits (only available in degfechten!) That are scored at 14:14 are no longer counted. Up to the age group "B-Jugend" (U14) the battles go on 10 hits with a maximum of 6 minutes battle time.

In team competition

A team consists of three fencers plus one substitute fencer. Each fencer of a team competes against each of the others in the order determined by the regulations. Each partial battle lasts a maximum of 3 minutes net. A relay is fought. The first two opponents fight for 5 hits. The next two take over the hit score and keep fighting until one team has 10 hits. The third battle lasts for 15 hits, the fourth for 20, and so on. The number of hits to be achieved remains fixed for each partial battle. For the sixth partial battle, the limit of 30 hits applies even if it was only 12:13 before because the battle time had expired several times.
The winner is the team that scored 45 hits first in the ninth and final battle or, alternatively, is in the lead when the time runs out. It can only be replaced once in a team match. The substitute fencer then takes over the remaining sub-bouts of the replaced fencer.

The combat time runs from the command "Come on!" or. "Allez!" of the referee and is in principle for everyone "Stop!" or. "Old!" stopped.
A "stop!" occurs every time a hit indicator 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 referee himself using a hand stop watch or by a clock integrated in the detector, which the referee controls by remote control.

At the end of combat time ...

... the winner is the one who is in the lead at this point in time.

At the end of the combat time and a tie ...

... the battle will be extended by one minute. The next hit decides the battle (Sudden Death). Before the extension begins, one of the two fencers is awarded an advantage by drawing lots. If there is no decisive hit during the extra minute, then whoever had the advantage wins. In this way, one of the two fencers is forced to take the initiative in the extra minute. This is particularly necessary in epee fencing, which is often characterized by tactics, where two opponents occasionally watch each other, but each wants to leave the attack to the other.

Before the start of a battle

Line up of fencers for battle

The fencer who is called first by the umpire, as the referee is called in fencing, 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.

The reason is simple: If a left-hander fights 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 the actual event 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.

Both fencers are obliged to appear at the lane with several spare weapons and spare body cables, otherwise there will be a yellow card (warning).

After the fencers have lined up and connected to the electrical hit display, the umpire checks their weapons. In the case of foil and épée, the fencers place their blades vertically and the chairman puts a weight on the tip of the blade, 500 grams in the case of foil, 750 grams in the case of the epee. He presses on the weight and triggers a hit display. If the compression spring of the tip is correctly tensioned, the display must then go out again. If it does not go out, it means that the weapon would also display hits below the prescribed minimum pressure. In epee fencing, the chairman also checks the so-called ignition run. In the event of a hit, the tip must be able to be depressed by at least 1 millimeter before the hit display is triggered. The chairman first checks whether his gauge with a thickness of 1.5 millimeters fits between the tip sleeve and the tip head. Then he pushes another gauge 0.5 millimeters thick in between and presses on the tip head, which now cannot be pushed in by this 0.5 millimeter all the way to the stop. The hit display must not be triggered during this check.

Then the fencers check the functionality of the electrical equipment as a whole:
Foil fencers easily come across the electrically conductive brocade vest of the opponent, which covers his valid target area. If the function is correct, the hit display "valid" must be triggered on both sides.

Saber fencers hit lightly on the electrically conductive brocade jacket or the equally conductive mask of the opponent, which covers his valid hit area. The hit display "valid" must also be triggered on both sides.

Epee fencers encounter the bell of the opposing weapon. No display may be triggered in the process.

If any part of the personal equipment (e.g. weapon or body cable) does not function according to the rules before the start of the bout, the fencer will receive a yellow card (warning). If the replacement does not work afterwards either, then there is a red card (penalty hit). If something breaks during the battle, there is no warning; but if the fencer in question does not have a functioning replacement ready on the track.