New to Fencing

Introduction to Competition

Before a bout begins, fencers connect to circuit to track hits. In instances where an electrical scoring apparatus is not used, four judges preside over the match.

Referees will tests weapons prior to a match to ensure they are legal. Other equipment, such as masks, body wires, and gloves, are typically checked by the armoury prior to the start of a competition.

Opponents typically test each other’s target area before the start of a bout to ensure they are properly connected to the circuit. They then walk to the en garde area to salute one another and the referee. After their masks are on and they are in the en garde position, the referee will say ‘Pret Allez’ to start the bout. Note that the referee is also called the director.

When a valid touch is scored, fencers return to the en garde area before the bout resumes. If a bout is halted for other reasons, such as an off-target touch, the action typically resumes from where it was halted.

There are three three-minute rounds in fencing. If time elapses with a tie, the bout enters Sudden Death Overtime. In this case, one fencer is given priority at random. If no one scores a touch during this time, the fencer with priority wins.

However, in pool rounds, fencers are divided into groups and fence to five hits. After pool rounds, fencers are ranked to determine the Direct Elimination tableau.