Soon at Rollins, there will be fencing matches to which the students, professors, and others will be invited. Probably very few of those attending will have an idea of what it is all about. For that reason an attempt will be made to explain the main points of the game.
There are three weapons used in modern fencing: the foil, the epee, and the sabre. The foil is the most Fundamental weapon, and is used in practice. It is also the most difficult because points are counted only when the point touches the target, which is the body above the waist and below the neck. The epee is a direct descendant of the duelling sword, and the rules governing its use are based upon this fact. It is a thrusting weapon, as is the foil, but the target is the entire body, just as in actual duels. Sabre fencing is derived from the cutlass and the common sabre, and is used in much the same way. It may either cut or thrust the body above the waist to count a touch. Sabreing is the most spectacular of the three because the movements are necessarily large and easier to follow. But to those who know a little about the sport, foil fencing is the most thrilling. Here the movements are delicate and a great number of attacks are possible.
To be a good fencer requires several years of training in the fundamentals and also some practical experience in matches. In these intercollegiate matches you will see good, bad, and indifferent fencing. The experienced fencers are easily recognized by their technique. They conserve their energy by making no unnecessary motions. The beginners, you will notice, are nervous, awkward, and stiff. They will use up their strength in futile and pointless movements. But that is how they gain experience and next time they will be better.
And now a word about the judging of a bout-ordinarily there are four judges and a director. The director starts and stops the play, and when one of the judges sees' and calls a touch, he reconstructs the phase to see just when the touch occurred. As you can see this is not so simple a job. It requires a keen and observant eye and a good memory. Even then the judges sometimes make errors.
Probably the thing first noticed will be the quiet and gentleman way in which the bouts are carried out. Rarely will be seen an unsportsmanlike act at a fencing match, not even when one of the contestants feels he has been unfairly judged.