Fencing is a martial art in which two opponents fight with a cold weapon with which they try to “stab” the opponent. At the beginning, fencing was a combat system that later turned into a sport. It is believed that its roots originate in Spain as evidenced by significant books written by Spanish swordsmen. One is the book Treated Weapon written by Diego De Valera between 1458 and 1471 and it is one of the oldest preserved manuals for western fencing. At that time, fencing was the basic skill of the Spanish forces in the conquest of the world, especially in southern Italy. The modern fencing mechanism appears in the 18th century during the Renaissance at an Italian school of fencing under the influence of French schools. It was the time when the Spanish school stagnated and it was replaced by the Italian and French schools.
The change of fencing as a sport instead of military training happened in the mid-18th century by Domenico Angelo who founded his Fencing Academy in 1763, the School of Weapons, in London. He taught there the aristocracy a modern art of fencing. His school was led by three generations and dominated for almost a century. The first regular fencing contest was held in 1880 on a military tournament for fight and an armed assault in Islington. The tournament held a series of matches between army officers and soldiers. Official rules and regulations were drafted by the Amateur Association of Gymnastics and Fencing in 1896 and the same year appeared as an Olympic sport.
There are three basic disciplines in the fencing distinguished by the type of weapon used, according to the rules during the fight, i.e. the part of the opponent`s body on which the goal or the actual surface is recognized. The three disciplines in the fencing are: the struggle with floret, the fight with the sword and the fight with the saber.
Floret is a lightweight weapon with a maximum weight of 500 grams and the point is obtained exclusively with a stab and only with a tip into the opponent’s torso. Floret is lighter than the sword, has a smaller protective guard and distinguished elasticity. The fight is monitored by a judge who assesses which fencer had the advantage in the attack or who carried out correctly the attack and even in a case of a valid point from both sides, at the same time, he decides to whom the point goes.
The sword is the most massive of all the three weapons and in the fight with a sword; a valid point is the whole body of the opponent, obtained with a single sting. In this fight with a sword, the same rules are not valid as in the floret and sword fighting as in the case of a simultaneous hit, the both contestants receive a point.
Saber is a weapon where point in the battle is obtained by a stab or cutting. In battles with a sword, a valid point is the upper part of the opponent’s body and the same rules are applied in attacks as in the floret fight.
Besides the weapon, swordsmen are equipped and provided with protective equipment such as fencing suit, a mask and gloves. Additionally, for the floret and saber the swordsman has a plastic-shaped body vest (floret) or long-sleeved t-shirt in the saber fight which is supposed to fully cover the current surface. Also each swordsman has appropriate cables attached to the weapon and in case of a stab in the marked surface, it notifies by flashing a lamp signal. The fencing itself takes place on a path of 1.5 to 2 meters wide and 14 meters long. The main goal, depending on the type of the weapon is to touch the opponent in a strictly specified part of the body. Automatically electrical systems register the point and the correct performance is judged by judges. The winner is the swordsman who will first collect a certain number of points. The matches can be individual or team and the duration of each fight is three minutes.
Finally, we can conclude that although it may seem like a simple sport, but the fencing requires great readiness, both physically and psychologically. It is also considered that fencing is the second mental sport right after chess. In Macedonia there are several fencing clubs and the most active are Rabotnicki and Angard from Skopje, clubs that train and congregate athletes who have achieved supreme results.
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