Intro to Modern Sabre Fencing

Just realised I hadn’t posted this here. Might as well:

This was made on request for a corporate group coming to do a 3 hour fencing session with us, just to give them a clearer idea of what the hell they were getting themselves in for. It’s pretty much what we teach people to get them fencing sabre in an hour, only sexed up a bit.

We’ve broken it into sections to explain the basic rules and dynamics of the game.


  1. The basic aim is simple: Hit your opponent anywhere above the waist with your sword. When you hit, your light goes on, and you get a point
  2. Once the ref says go, each fight lasts until someone scores. An entire match is usually first to 15 points (individual) or a relay to 45 points (team).
  3. If only one person hits, that person scores. No questions asked.
  4. If you chase your opponent off the end of strip, you win the point.
  5. If both people hit, the referee decides who scores. They’re looking for who controls the initiative. The first way to win the initiative is to attack faster than your opponent.
  6. If your opponent has launched an attack, you can win back control by making them miss. This is called a fall-short.Then you can hit them with an attack of your own.
  7. If you can’t make your opponent fall short, you can block their attack. This is called a parry. Then you can hit back. This is called a riposte.
  8. You can also win or maintain control by knocking your opponent’s blade out of the way. This is called a beat. It’s like a parry, but you don’t have to wait for them to attack first.*

It’s freaking fast and there’s a lot of tactics going on, but that right there is the core of it.

*Someone on internets raised the issue of Point In Line. To this I say: pfffft.

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