The Rules of Fencing (Olympic Fencing) – EXPLAINED!


Ninh explains, the Rules of Fencing. Fencing, sometimes referred to as ‘Olympic
Fencing’, is a combat sport that is contested between two people with swords. A word of warning before you continue to watch
this video – don’t blink! Olympic level fencers are bullet fast, and
you’ll need quick reflexes just to watch fencing, let alone play it. The contest is staged on a strip known as
the ‘piste’, and it measures 14m long and up to 2m wide. The piste has a centre line, en garde lines,
warning lines and limit lines. The contest starts with both fencers on their
en-garde lines. The referee will issue sets of instructions
and once he tells you to go, the clock starts. The aim of fencing is to contact your sword
into the target area of your opponent whilst avoiding being hit yourself. Modern fencing is wired up electronically,
so that lights turn on if you strike the required area. This is to indicate to the referee and spectators
who hit who first. If you hit the required area, you score one
hit and the clock stops. The whole process starts all over again and
for individual contests, you compete against another individual. Elimination matches are contested in 3 periods
of 3 minutes each. Whoever scores 15 points first or who has
the highest number of points after 3 periods … wins. In a team competition, you are part of a 3
person team and you have to fight the three fencers on the opposing team. The contest is contested in 9 periods of 3
minutes each. The highest score at the end of time, wins. Huh, that was easy?! I wish it was that simple … but it’s not. Rather confusingly, Olympic Fencing has three
different disciplines, which are fought with three different weapons, and have uniquely
different rules from each other. But before I explain what those are, you need
to know about one very important concept. Right of Way. It’s complicated, but put simply. If both fencers hit at the same time, it’s
the person who is in an attacking position first, or who controls the initiative, or
that fights more aggressively, is the fencer that is given the point. A n attacking position is where an arm is
extended and the tip of the blade is pointing at your opponent. To give yourself right of way, you can either
attack first. (Fall Short) Where you make your opponent
miss and then attack. (Parry & Riposte) where you deflect an opponents
attack so that they don’t have right of way, and then riposte (which is a counter
attack). Or Beat, where you knock your opponents blade
away without warning, and then score yourself. Okay I got that. So what are the three disciplines? 1. The Foil
The foil is the most common discipline in fencing, and is considered to be the most
technical. The foil is the smallest and lightest of the
three weapons, and the target area is anywhere on the torso or the back. In foil, you are only allowed to attack an
opponent by thrusting with the tip of your blade. Hitting with the side of the sword doesn’t
count. The right of way rules applies here so being
able to parry and riposte accurately, especially with such a small target area is key. 2. The Sabre
The sabre is the fastest of the three disciplines. The sword itself has a different handle and
is slightly shorter than a foil. The target area is now anywhere above the
waist. The sabre is the only discipline where you
are allowed to cut or slash with the side of your blade, as opposed to just attacking
with just the tip. This means that with the right of way, the
increased target area and the ease of scoring, it is advantageous to attack first and ask
questions later. 3. The Epee. If the sabre was the fastest, the epee is
considered to be the slowest by comparison. The epee is the biggest and the heaviest of
the three swords, but the target area is now the entire body. Like the foil, you must only attack with the
tip of the blade, but unlike foil and sabre, the epee is the only discipline where the
right of way rules do not apply. So if both fencers touch at the same time,
both are awarded a point. With a longer heavier sword and the whole
body now being fair game, fencers are now very cagey. They have to be selective when to attack,
as you can easily be exposed in Epee. That’s the bare bones of it all, but there’s
a couple more things that you need to know before playing or watching fencing. For example. Penalties
There are things you cannot do in fencing such as stepping off the piste during play,
turning your back on your opponent, or using your non playing hand. A yellow card indicates a warning. A red card indicates that your opponent is
awarded a point. And a Black card signifies that you have been
disqualified from the contest. Non combativity. On the rarest of occasions, both fencers will
refuse to attack each other. If the referee feels that neither fencer is
making any effort to attack, he will stop the clock and declare non combativity or non-combativeness. He will end the period and a new period will
begin. This is a strategic move, particularly in
the team competition to force an opponent to attack more aggressively in the next period,
especially if they are down on points. If you have found this video at all helpful,
please like share and subscribe. It takes me ages to make one of these things
and good karma is very much appreciated. If you’re also on Reddit you can post this
video and discuss it there. But in the meantime, enjoy Fencing. Ninh Ly – www.ninh.co.uk – @NinhLyUK

100 thoughts on “The Rules of Fencing (Olympic Fencing) – EXPLAINED!”

  1. Ninh explains – The Rules of Fencing. (Sometimes referred to as ‘Olympic Fencing’,)
    I have been reliably informed that the Epee is not longer than the other swords, but it is heavier. I believe this was the only error in this video.
    Fencing is the oldest combat sport in the Olympic games.

    PLEASE READ: This video took me forever, mainly finding examples in slow motion in order to illustrate the points.
    (3 HOURS) – Research and finding decent footage.
    (1 HOUR) – Scripting
    (1 HOUR) – Recording Audio, Editing, Fixing Levels and EQ
    (4 HOURS) – Hard Edit, cutting clips and making them fit the audio
    (2 HOURS) – Soft edit, editing timings, re-find new footage for missing examples.
    (1 HOUR) – Title screens, colouring and adjustment layers
    (2 HOURS) – In screen graphics, animations, transitions.
    (1 HOUR) – Encoding, uploading to YouTube, editing closed captions, adding tags, custom thumbnail, updating on website, pre-load on social media.

    TOTAL TIME – 15 HOURS TO MAKE A 6 MINUTE VIDEO!!!

    So if and when you make a suggestion – please be considerate that these things don't take just two minutes to make.

  2. As a fencer, I can say that the “right of way” rule is not in epee (the kind I do) you call it a double touch. Both get a point

  3. It's hilarious when someone screams whenever they get the touch. I nearly had a heart attack at my very first tournament.

  4. Outside of the olympics, if an elimination bracket is used (which is commonly is) there will be two 3rd place finishers. A bronze match is never played.

  5. Well you got the rule at 4:57 wrong, non combativity is now removed as replaced with a p cards (yellow p, red p, and black p). You should make a video explaining the p cards!

  6. Thank you so so so so very much! 💯💯💯 Really appreciate all the explained videos on your channel! 💯💯💯

  7. Right of way, 2:10 in the video: where did you see that the fencer who were fighting more aggressively were getting the right of way? It is not true at all!

  8. Glorified game of tag, I hate olympic fencing, the only reason I was brought to this video was because I was making food,

  9. Actually the no comabativity rule changed. Now the person who is back in the score is given a specific "passive" yellow card and the clock remains the same

  10. Great video, however, there are some minor mistakes: A sabre is a little lighter than a foil and what weapon is most common depends on the country. For instance, you'll find it rather difficult to train foil in Switzerland, while sabre is nearly impossible to train. Epee is by far the most common here…

  11. I used to fence foil in high school and I really miss it. Such a fun an intricate sport. We used to always argue with the sabre kids which discipline was better. The only thing we could agree on was that épée was the worst 😂

  12. I am the only fencer in my state in Brazil. I'm doing fencing only months. But this video bought me to this beautiful sport. Thanks.

  13. very streight line mouvements and steps i think fencing must be more flexible and more round mouvements

  14. I don't often see videos explaining fencing and actually including the cards or non-combativity, so really well done on that!

  15. I hate non combativity, it's annoying in Epee cuz it's such a slow weapon. In a match to 15 I often only score 1 or 2 in the first period while I try and work out my opponent.

  16. i only fence sabre and i've only ever used a foil once, so it's nice to be educated on the other two blades.

  17. Hey, I’m working on a story right now in which one of the characters is an Olympic Fencer, and this is definitely helping. Thanks!

  18. I fenced for a little bit (Sabre/Saber). I was terrible. bad reflexes. But;; Excellent explanation of right of way (or as my Ukrainian coach called it, "Priority"), overall, well described. Gosh, that coach was very ukranian. You could sometimes not interpret his words, he occasionally started speaking Ukrainian accidentally etc). Great Channel! Sports suggestion: (joke) 4-square

  19. I came here to point out all the errors and misconceptions in the video and was thoroughly disappointed to find none

  20. for some years now the lower part of the mask bib is also a valid target in foil. Don't be discouraged if you think your reactions are not fast enough, a good sense of timing, distance, rhythm and a cool head are perhaps more important, the fast reactions of an opponent can be turned against them by feint attacks and second intention moves. Get along to your local club, all you need are trainers and light clothing because most clubs supply the equipment for beginner classes.

  21. I started fencing about two months ago(epee). I love this video, so informative and explained in such an interesting way! You should make a video on singlestick, apparently it was a 4th discipline of fencing and was only in the Olympics once. Would be cool to see! Btw music is really catchy, looked for the song after.

  22. Their not swords there weapons… And no I am not a nerd, every fencer ever knows that. Otherwise the video was rather on point! Great job!

    -A decent fencer

  23. I just got into fencing, I’ve always wanted to do it, but the Vega Street fighter music being played in the background whilst knowing Vega is my favorite street fighter character means destiny is finally leading me the right way.

  24. UPDATE: There is a new Non-Combativity rule where if one minute goes without a touch then a P-Yellow (Passivity Yellow) Card is given to the fencer who is down or to both if the score is tied, if one more minute passes then it is a P-Red then another P-Red and finally a P-Black. These cards do not stack with other cards and if you are given a P-Black card it acts as an automatic loss instead of it looking like you were never there. If there is P-Card then you do not roll over to the next period but you pick up at the same spot.

  25. I find this kinda dumb. I would like to see all these athletes using real swords… id love to see if they actually fight as fast. Its just rediculous. It really has nothing to do with sword-fighting… its more like playing tag.

  26. Okay about the “what” of right-of-way, but what about the “why” of right-of-way? What’s the historical significance and why (given existing technology) does it still exist? And, more to the point of the matter, pun intended, is the rule being reconsidered as a necessary feature of the modern sport of fencing?

  27. Really not a fan of this. I prefer HEMA for fencing rules, but even that is too clean, too organized. Battle of Nations is the best, but their swordsmanship is pretty bad.

  28. As a competitive saber fencer, I can say that the video is almost completely accurate (except for the epee thing, but you already addressed that.) I love the way you described the sport, as it does a great job of introducing it to the inexperienced. In fact, I showed this to a few friends who watched me at a recent tournament

  29. Not to discredit their skill as obviously they have a shit ton, but I'd like to see a fencer try to go up against a HEMA practitioner and get knocked on their ass

  30. Who’s the Korean fencer around 1:15 seconds in? I’ve seen very very few olympians use a French grip. He’s posting too, pretty much all Olympic fencers use some type of pistol grip.

  31. This is all a lie, I dont see any of them using any fence for combat. This should be called foiling/sabreing etc.
    #FenceLivesMatter

  32. As a fencer I find myself watching this video periodically just because it’s so well researched and put together, not to mention concisely and clearly written.

  33. I can't get over how silly Olympic fencing swords are. They are more like whips than real swords. You couldn't kill anyone with one of those

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