Fencing (from German. Fechten - "to fight", "to fight") is a combat sport with the use of cold weapons. Fencers compete on a special track, the width of which is from 1.5 to 2 m, the length is 14 m, and the cover is made of an electrically conductive material, in order to isolate from the apparatus that records pricks (blows).
The referee controls the fight, as well as evaluates the skills and abilities of the fencers, guided by the testimony of the electric apparatus registering injections and blows, to which the weapons and clothing of athletes are connected by a wire system. In addition, fights with certain types of weapons differ in some specific rules, which allow in some cases to declare thrusts or strikes invalid and not count them.
The first fencing competitions, immortalized on the frescoes of the ancient temple of Abu in Medina, Egypt, date back to about 1190 BC. According to the hieroglyphic inscription accompanying the fresco, the competition was organized by Pharaoh Ramses III in honor of the victory in the battle with the Libyans.
For quite a long time, fencing, that is, possession of melee weapons (sword, epee, knife, ax, and so on) was simply necessary to resolve disputes, and sometimes for survival. They taught the art of swordsmanship to legionaries and gladiators in ancient Rome, and in ancient Greece, fencing was taught to children who reached 7-9 years old.
In medieval Europe (especially in France, Italy and Spain), knights-nobles spent a lot of time studying the features of the handling of cold weapons. In Russia, Peter the Great obliged the courtiers to learn swordsmanship, and introduced the study of bayonet fighting techniques in the army. After some time, the noble art of handling cold weapons was included in the number of compulsory subjects in many educational institutions.
Nowadays, fencing has ceased to be a means of resolving disputes, and has turned from a martial art into one of the sports. And this is not surprising - since ancient times sword fighting was an extremely popular form of competition. Battles of this kind were fought, as a rule, to the first blood, and were tried by the most respected elders. Fencing competitions were included in the program of the Olympic Games as early as 776 BC, and fencing competitions were also held at the 1896 Olympics. Depending on the weapon used, the following types of sports fencing are distinguished:
Foil fencing - this sport uses a foil for a duel - a thrusting weapon with a four-sided section, the length of which is 110 cm, weight - 500 g. A round guard is used to protect the hand, the diameter of which is 12 cm. Tournaments for men and women are held separately. Athletes are protected by a metallic jacket, the injection into which is registered with a colored lamp (it is precisely such injections that count), while a blow made in the area not covered by the jacket is recorded by a white lamp and is considered invalid. The basic rule is that first you should repel the enemy's attack, and only then proceed to retaliatory actions. The priority of actions is transferred from one athlete to another, the advantage is determined by the arbiter, based on the indications of the registering apparatus.
Epee fencing - the epee is a thrusting weapon with a triangular cross section, the length of which is 110 cm, weight - up to 770 g. The round guard protecting the hand has a diameter of 13.5 cm. Men and women compete in separate tournaments. Injections applied by athletes to any part of the body (except the back of the head) are considered valid. There is no priority in this type of fencing.
Saber fencing - in fights of this kind, athletes use a saber - a trapezoidal cutting-thrusting weapon, the length of which does not exceed 105 cm, weight - 500 g. Garda is an oval saber. The affected body surface of athletes (in this type of fencing, strikes and injections, fixed on the apparatus by a colored lamp, can be applied to all parts of the body) is covered with protective clothing with silver shavings.
Fencing on canes - in this type of fencing, athletes are armed with canes - smooth wooden sticks, the length of which is 95 cm, weight - from 125 to 140 g. They hold their weapons with a direct grip with one hand, while the other is laid behind their backs. The battle is fought in a circle with a diameter of 6 meters. The main goal of the fighters, protected by masks, bibs, gloves and shields on their legs, is to inflict as many stabbing and chopping blows as possible on any part of the enemy's body in 2 minutes (this is the duration of the fight).
Fencing with carbines - this type of fencing emerged relatively recently - around the end of the 18th century - with the emergence of a new type of long-barreled weapon - the carbine (from the Arab "carab" - weapon, Turkish "caraboli" - shooter or French carabin - rifle). The honor of inventing the carbine is attributed to the gunsmith Gaspar Zolner. Handling this type of weapon required not only remarkable accuracy, but also strength, speed and dexterity when it came to hand-to-hand combat. Even after several centuries, the art of fencing with carbines has not been forgotten - moreover, it has become quite widely known. For example, in the middle of the last century, such a sport as fencing with carbines with an elastic bayonet was quite popular in the USSR. During trainings and various kinds of competitions, the participants not only fought for prizes and titles, but also got the opportunity to prepare for hand-to-hand combat, gain psychological stability during the battle, and hone their weapons handling skills.
The ROSS system (Russian Domestic Self-Defense System), on the general principles of which - the laws of nature and mechanics of movements - the program and methodology for teaching this type of fencing was built, offered 2 options for conducting lessons in bayonet fighting and competitions:
1. Simplified competitions (training) - are held without any protective equipment, while fencers use dummy carbines or small sticks (poles).
2. Sporty, more sophisticated option. Athletes are protected by masks with a visor, protective gloves, bib and groin brace. As a weapon, carbines are used, on which the bayonet is replaced by a soft tennis ball.
Fencing with heavy bladed weapons - competitions of this kind are held unofficially, fencers use one- or two-handed swords, the weight of which can range from 1200 to 4000-5000 grams. For protection, historical (or stylized for a particular era) armor is used: armor, chain mail, brigantines, etc. Since there is full contact combat, this type of fencing is extremely traumatic.
Buhurt battles are one of the types of fencing with heavy bladed weapons. This sport was revived in Russia at the beginning of the XXI. 5x5 teams participate in the battle, and the weight category of the athlete does not matter. Fighters wearing the appropriate equipment can use no more than two types of weapons. The fight is fought on a 20 x 20 meter square area surrounded by a 1 meter wide safety zone. The duration of the bout is 3 minutes. The battle can also end in the event of a fall of all the fighters of the team (the loss or damage of all weapons, going beyond the limits of the lists, loss of an important element of protection, etc.) is also equivalent to a fall.
Fencers' etiquette was invented in European countries. This is not entirely true. Some formulations of verbal appeals in ancient times corresponded to modern ones. For example, the exclamation "to battle!", Which begins a fencing duel today, was started by swordsmen in ancient Egypt (this is evidenced by the corresponding inscription accompanying the fresco depicting the competition). The winner saluted the pharaoh and his retinue with weapons, and the results of the battles were recorded on a special papyrus.
To win, the swordsman must inflict as many blows or thrust on the opponent as possible, it does not matter with what force the blow is delivered and where exactly it fell. Indeed, strikes and thrusts in a duel are recorded without fail. However, it should be borne in mind that, in accordance with the rules of a particular type of fencing, the same blow (thrust) can be scored or canceled. For example, when fencing with rapiers, only the punches made in the torso are counted, and the spring in the poandar (the tip of the rapier) is set only for a pressure of at least 500 g (the apparatus simply does not register weaker blows). The same rules apply to saber fencing, the only difference is the prohibition to make a "cross step forward". And in a sword fight, the tip of the weapon must create a pressure of at least 750 g, while blows can be applied to all parts of the enemy's body (except for the back of the head).
In some types of fencing, battles are fought to the first blood. This is true, but in some cases, the loser is the one who closes his eyes during the battle. This kind of rules apply, for example, in scale fencing (German mensurfechten - fencing in a confined space), extremely popular among young people and students in Germany since the 16th century. The combatants' equipment consists of goggles with metal mesh, a leather bib and a thick scarf that protects the neck. The goal of the fencers is to injure the face of the enemy with a sharply honed weapon ("sword"). After this type of competition ceased to be a means of resolving disputes and turned into one of the ways to test courage and resilience, new rules for the fight were created - special judges make sure that the fighters did not close their eyes during the fight.
The fencing mask was introduced relatively recently. Researchers claim that the swordsmen of Ancient Egypt protected their faces with special masks. However, in Europe, they started talking about the need to introduce this element of the swordsman's equipment only in 1755, and the mask was introduced only a decade later - in 1765. According to experts, it was after the introduction of the mask that the rapid and rapid technical and tactical improvement of fencing began.
The debut of Russian fencers at the Olympic Games took place in the middle of the last century in Helsinki. Indeed, the USSR national team participated in the 1952 Olympics (Finland, Helsinki), but one should not think that this was the debut of athletes from Russia on the international arena. Back in 1910, Russian saber fencers performed at competitions held in Paris. And in the 1912 Olympics (Sweden, Stockholm), domestic blade masters also took part, although they did not achieve much success.
To achieve victory in any kind of fencing, you need to thoroughly know the techniques of this art of using weapons and be in good physical shape. This is really so, because fencing is an individual sport, even team competitions are held one-on-one. However, for example, in buhurt battles, in order to win, team members must show not only physical strength, dexterity, and the art of using weapons, but also team tactics and strategy. The swordsman's intelligence is also an extremely important component of future victory, especially in this kind of competition.
The most sophisticated is the ancient Japanese art of fencing - after all, it is based on the philosophical principles of harmony. European fencing is extremely crude and primitive. In ancient times, samurai clad in heavy armor used a massive long sword (tachi). The technique of wielding this type of weapon, undoubtedly effective in combat, was at the same time extremely simple, there were no question of any complicated techniques at that time. Only in the Edo era (1603-1868), when the Japanese warriors armed themselves with shorter and lighter swords (katanas) and abandoned the armor that hindered movement, the situation changed radically - instead of endurance and physical strength, dexterity, a sense of distance and time began to be valued. And the fighting technique was constantly improved and refined.
Roughly the same thing happened in Europe - the sword and the rapier came to replace the heavy sword. New schools of fencing also appeared, sometimes based on the conclusions of the exact sciences (for example, geometry) and appreciating the grace and beauty of the swordsman's movements above all, even victory in a duel.
The best quality, reliable and most difficult to manufacture are Japanese swords. "High technologies" of Japanese gunsmiths ("Japanese Damascus" - numerous welding and subsequent forging of layers, technology of steel bags (a soft iron core is lined with high-carbon steel), which makes it possible to make an elastic and long-lasting sharpened product) were also known in Europe back in VI- VIII centuries. In addition, it should be borne in mind that high-quality and pure ores in Japan did not contribute to the improvement of blacksmithing skills, while Europeans were forced to invent new methods and technologies for manufacturing metal products.
The two-legged fight never really existed - this is an invention of action directors and creators of computer games. Completely erroneous opinion. Since ancient times, the two-pronged battle has been actively used in many countries of the world, although conducting a battle with two types of weapons demanded from a person remarkable dexterity, coordination and mastering a rather extensive arsenal of techniques. In different countries, fencers preferred to use different types of weapons in a two-night battle. For example, in Europe, in addition to long weapons (sword, rapier or sword), a short blade was used. The art of fighting with double swords was less popular. In Japan, two swords were also often used - a long and a short one. On the islands of the Pacific Ocean, the art of Kali Arnis was very popular - rivals armed themselves with paired sticks, and in some cases with paired machetes. The most common use of doubles was in China. For the duel, the fighters chose paired short cutters, paired broadswords (shuandao), paired swords (shuangjian), as well as paired spears, maces, battle fans, etc.
The two-man will effortlessly win the battle against a fighter armed with only one blade. Like any fighting style, two-night combat has its advantages and disadvantages. The advantages include a huge arsenal of techniques and techniques. Of course, you will have to spend a lot of effort and time to study them, but the result is worth it. However, one should not forget about the weaknesses of the two-technicians. For example, if the enemy is fighting at a long distance, the use of the second blade becomes simply impossible. And if, in addition, the opponent is equipped with a two-handed or one and a half-handed sword, he can easily defeat a man armed with two shorter blades.
The most effective is the blade-to-blade defense. Protection of this kind is mentioned in fencing treatises only since the 16th century, before that preference was given to pushing the enemy's weapons from the line of attack. After all, a hard block (that is, the collision of swords with edges) not only deprives you of the opportunity to attack, but also damages the weapon - cracks and notches appear on the blade, which in the future can lead to a loss of blade sharpness, or even destruction of the blade.
Since ancient times, there have been disputes about which is more effective - a stabbing or chopping blow. More often than not, people tend to think that the point is superior to the blade. No, this kind of debate has been going on relatively recently - from about the beginning of the 18th century.Prior to that, in different countries of the world, both piercing and chopping were considered fundamental combat techniques, and weapons were made in such a way as to enable a fighter to deliver any type of strike in accordance with the current situation. At the same time, there were both purely cutting and stabbing weapons, and the dominance of blades of any one type was not traced.
You can start practicing fencing from the age of 12. Indeed, most often children 10-12 years old are accepted into sports sections, but you can begin to comprehend the noble art of fencing from the age of 5. In this case, a special lightweight weapon is used for training. By the way, you can become a fencer at any age. The 2006 World Veteran Championship was won by an athlete from South Africa, who began to comprehend the wisdom of fencing at the age of fifty and achieved great success.
In France, various schools of fencing were born, various techniques were developed, which means that in various competitions the team of this country will most often take prizes. Indeed, it was France that was the ancestor of many schools of fencing, which later spread to many European countries. However, according to the results of, for example, the Olympic Games, this country was in second place (36 medals), while Italians firmly established themselves in the first (42 medals). Athletes from Hungary are in third place (29 medals), in fourth place are fencers from the USSR and Russia, who currently have 27 medals.