Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Fencing Epee and Fencing Tickets

Epee is the modern derivative of the dueling sword. It is the small sword itself descended from the rapier, used in sport fencing. Epee is French for "sword". As a thrusting weapon the epee is similar to a foil compared to a sabre, but has a stiffer blade that is V shaped in cross-section, has a larger bell guard, and is heavier. The technique however, is somewhat different, as there are no rules regarding priority and right of way. In addition, the entire body is a valid target area.
A modern epee for use by adult fencers has a blade which measures 90 centimeters from the bell guard to the tip; the maximum allowable mass is 770g, but most competition swords are much lighter, weighing 300g - 450g. Epees for use by children under 12 are shorter and lighter, making it easier for them to use.
The epee has a three sided blade, in contrast to the foil and sabre which are rectangular in cross section. In competitions a valid epee touch is scored if a fencer touches the opponent with enough force to depress the tip; by rule, this is a minimum force of 7.4 N. Since the hand is a valid target, the bell guard is much larger than that of the foil. The bell guard is typically made of aluminum or stainless steel. The tip is wired to a connector in the bell guard, then to an electronic scoring device or "box." The bell guard, blade, and handle of the epee are all grounded to the scoring box to prevent hits to the weapon from registering as touches.
In the groove formed by the V-shaped blade, there are two thin wires leading from the far end of the blade to a connector in the bell guard. These wires are held in place with strong glue. The amount of glue is kept to a minimum as in the unlikely case that a fencer manages a touch in that glue; the touch would be registered on the electrical equipment, as the glue is not conductive. In the event of tip to tip hits, a point should not be awarded. A "body cord" with a three-pronged plug at each end is placed underneath the fencer's clothing and attached to the connector in the bell guard, then to a wire leading to the scoring box. The scoring box signals with lights one for each fencer and a tone each time the tip is depressed.
The dueling sword developed in the 19th century when, under pressure from the authorities, duels were more frequently fought until "first blood" only, instead of to the death. Under this provision, it became sufficient to inflict a minor nick on the wrist or other exposed area on the opponent in order to win the duel. This had consequences for both fencing technique and design of the weapon. Rapiers with full cup guards had been made since the mid 17th century but were not widespread before the 19th century.
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