The sabre is one of the three weapons of modern sport fencing, and is alternatively spelled saber in American English. The sabre differs from the other modern fencing weapons, the epee and foil, in that it is possible to score with the edge of the blade; for this reason, sabreur movements and attacks are very fast. For the other two weapons, valid touches are only scored using the point of the blade. Like foil, sabre uses the convention of right of way to determine who acquires the touch. The term sabreur refers to a male fencer who fences with a sabre. Sabreuse is the female equivalent.
The cross section of the sabre blade is Y or V shaped, unlike the quadrangular shape of the foil, but not as stiff as the epee. Adult blades are 88 cm in length. At the end of the blade, the point is folded over itself to form a button, although no actual button exists. The bell guard of the sword is curved around the handle, giving the fencer hand protection. On electrical sabres, a socket for the body wire is found underneath the bell guard. A fastener known as a pommel is attached to the end of the sword to keep the bell guard and handle on. The handle of a sabre is standard a straight saber grip, as other grips are incompatible with the bell guard. The entire weapon is generally 105 cm long. The maximum weight is 500g, but most competition swords are closer to 400g. It is shorter than the foil or epee, and lighter than the epee, making it easier to move swiftly and incisively. Many equate the sabre's blade to a matchstick, in that they are easy to snap but relatively cheap to replace.
At sabre, it is generally easier to attack than to defend and high-level international sabre fencing is often very fast and very simple, although when required, top sabreurs do display an extended repertoire of tactical devices. In response to the relatively high speed of sabre fencing, the rules for sabre were changed to prohibit the forward cross-over. Thus, the fleche attack is no longer permissible, so sabre fencers have instead begun to use a flying lunge. This attack begins like a fleche, but the fencer pushes off from the ground and moves quickly forward, attempting to land a hit before their feet cross over. Similarly, running attacks consisting of a failed fleche followed by continuous remises have also been eliminated.
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