skip navigation

Fencing 101

Welcome to the exhilarating world of USA Fencing!

Fencing isn't just a sport. It's a thrilling blend of athleticism and strategy that's stood the test of time — featured in every Summer Olympics since the first modern Games way back in 1896.

When you fence, you'll sharpen both body and mind while diving into a spirited, inclusive community.

Whether you're 8 or 80, fencing is accessible for all. Join the ranks by enrolling at one of the numerous USA Fencing clubs across the nation. Click the blue banners on this page to learn about fencing rules, the three weapons and the terms that define our sport.

Questions? Reach out to us at We're here to help you embark on your fencing adventure. Welcome to the USA Fencing family!

Unlock the secrets of fencing—from scoring epic points to mastering right-of-way—on our comprehensive "Learn to Fence" page. Your journey from novice to fencing aficionado starts here!

Choose your weapon! Discover the art of fencing through the distinct styles of foil, epee and saber.

Dive into the language of fencing with our essential glossary — from "Advance" to "Strip" — and you'll be speaking like a true fencer in no time.

The best way to learn fencing isn't by watching a video or reading an article. It's by visiting your nearest club and experiencing the thrill firsthand.

Parents, we've got you. Discover the ins and outs of fencing, from tournaments to essential equipment and a parent's role in nurturing a young athlete's passion for the sport.

In a hurry? Here are some fencing basics — all on a single page!

Fencing Fast Facts

  • Fencing is one of just five sports contested at every Olympics since 1896. (The others are athletics, cycling, swimming and gymnastics.)
  • The metal fencing strip, or piste, is about 46 feet long. That's about a foot shorter than the distance from the baseline to the half-court line on a basketball court.
  • Action begins when the referee says "En garde! Prêts? Allez!" — or "On guard! Ready? Fence!"
  • Most fencing tournaments begin with round-robin pool play (first to five touches) followed by elimination rounds (first to 15 touches).