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Why Fencing?

With the recent success of several notable Olympic fencers including Peter Westbrook, Mariel Zagunis, Miles Chamley-Watson, fencing is gaining in popularity now in the Unites States - and we couldn't be happier!  We love fencing because fencing is a challenging sword fighting sport that requires you to make quick tactical decisions in the middle of the fight. It teaches people how to analyze situations, make complex decisions quickly, to think on their feet all without anyone getting hurt.

Did you now – Cobra Fencers are regularly recruited to some of the top colleges and universities.

Yale University

Princeton University

New York University

Columbia College

Air Force Academy

Penn State University

John Hopkins University

Notre Dame University

Boston College

Brandeis University

University of Pennsylvania


Stephen's Fencing 1O1

Fencing is a unique combat sport that includes three weapons or disciplines (Foil, Epee and Sabre) which are practiced by both women and men. The sport is one of only four that have been featured at every one of the modern Olympic Games with Women's Sabre being added just nineteen years ago at the Summer Games in Sydney, Australia. In all three fencing disciplines, the main objective is to hit your opponent in the designated target area. Of course, like any other sport once the rules and regulations come into play, it can get more complex. However, the main idea is simple. Get the touch!


Fencing bouts are fenced for either five touches or 15 touches. Fencers start the tournament in a “pool,” which is usually six or seven fencers. Everybody fences everybody in the pool, and then the results produce a ranking ladder. Then the tournament becomes like a tennis tournament, with pairings. The fencers fence a 15-touch direct elimination bout where the winners advance and the losers are eliminated. In the Olympic Games there’s no pool, just 32 top ranked in the world in the direct elimination table.

The men train with the women but not against each other in competition. It’s ironic that fencing is derived from real swordplay, but the sport is extremely safe and injuries are extremely rare. It’s emotional to be in a fencing bout. If you dislike the opponent on a personal level it can be extra motivation as long as you can maintain good control of your body and mind.

​​Did you know? Fencing has been included in every Olympic game since 1898.

Fencing History...

In the beginning....the use of swords dates to prehistoric times and swordplay to ancient civilizations. In Egypt, 1190 B.C., Ramsès' III, temple depicts a sporting competition organized by the Pharaoh to celebrate his victory over the Libyans. The weapons were sticks with bronze plates in the end. Hands were protected by a guard similar to that of sabre, and some of the fencers had their faces protected by a mask, whose chin rolling pad, covering both ears, was attached to the wig. Not many people know that fencing was also in the 1st Greek, Games of the Olympe, 776 B.C. And  that in 648 B.C. the Roman consul Rutilius, introduced the education of fencing, or armatura, into the Roman military camps, in order to improve courage within the army.


The oldest surviving manual on western fencing is the Royal Armouries, written by German masters c. 1300, followed by Italian and French masters c. 1400 who invented their own styles and rules and spread their teachings across Europe. The definition of terms and the teaching methods were progressively established by French masters, who left remarkable writings: Le Perche du Coudray (fencing master of Cyrano) in 1635 and 1676, Besnard in 1653 (master of Descartes), la Touche in 1670, Labat from Toulouse in 1690.

The sports popularity increased in the 17th and 18th century.  Italian, Domenico Angelo, taught aristocratic Britons the art of swordsmanship at his academy in Soho, London in the second half of the 18th century. Angelo's book 'L'Ecole des armes' ('The School of Fencing') laid down the fundamentals of posture and footwork which live on to this day. If fencing became a sport, it is partially thanks to epee. This weapon being by definition the weapon of duel, was taught in schools and little by little, the sport gets more organized and the competitions begin to appear.

Why do we call it fencing? The word “fence” was originally shortened from “defens”, that comes from the Italian word, ”defensio”. The first known use of defense in reference to swordsmanship is in Shakespeare’s Merry Wives of Windsor:

“Alas sir, I cannot fence.”

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Gear Guide


Watch Japanese foil fencer, Yuki Ota's inspiring fencing visualized project.

Lee Kiefer wins USA's first ever gold in individual foil, Tokyo Olympics 2020

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