Origins and Development of Fencing


Fencing is a classic sport that takes its origins from ancient swordplay. Despite this bloody beginning, it has evolved into one of the safest and most spectacular sports around.

An Aristocrat’s Activity
Popular since the Middle Ages as an aristocratic sport, fencing was considered the best of the chivalric arts, which included horsemanship, swimming, hunting, archery, chess, and poetry. The earliest publications on fencing date from the 14th century, when the pastime was fashionable among the elites in Western Europe. Inspired by the exquisite swordsmanship of those on the battlefield, members of the aristocracy strove to emulate their ways, particularly in the courts of Henry III or IV of France, where the art flourished.
From Deadly to Friendly
In 1776, French fencing master La Boessière invented the face mask, marking an important milestone and allowing the once deadly activity to become much safer. Fencing thus moved away from dueling and into the realm of sport, where winning was no longer a matter of life or death.
Becoming an Olympic Sport
Sport fencing is one of the founding modern Olympic event. It made its appearance at the first modern Olympic in Athens in 1896, and has been in every Olympics since. The International Fencing Federation (or FIE) was established in 1913, creating unified rules for fencing competitions the world over.
Going Electric
In 1931, the electrical scoring apparatus was created. This was a landmark invention for the sport fencing, creating fairer and more equitable matches. It also allowed fencing to become an incredibly modern and mature sport in an age where many were still in their infancy.
Modern Fencing
Today, fencing is a fast-paced and exciting sport, fit for all ages. Fencing offers competitive and recreational fun for everyone.