Know Your Weapon: Epee

Last week, we began introducing and demystifying the weapons of fencing with an overview of the foil. We're gonna keep it going this week with a breakdown of the epee!

                           The epee features a larger guard to protect the hand from an opponent's attacks.

                           The epee features a larger guard to protect the hand from an opponent's attacks.

The epee - pronounced "EPP-pay" and meaning sword in French, has a triangular blade, similar to the foil in length. It is different, however, in that it is heavier, its blade is much stiffer, and it has a much larger guard. 

The epee is also similar to the foil in that only the tip of the weapon may be used to score touches (points) - this is again registered by a button fixed at the tip. The target area for epee is the entire body, simulating a real duel. The larger guard comes in handy here, as it makes it more difficult for the opponent to score a touch on the hand.

Epee fencers are not regulated by the rules of right-of-way. Still, the fact that no part of the body is off limits as a target makes the epee the perfect weapon for the patient strategist. Epee fencers thus use their time to learn and test their opponent's defenses, as well as creating optimal distance - often fencing defensively for the majority of a bout.

Next week, the sabre!