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How to Choose Fencing Equipment : Choosing a Weapon for Sword Fencing


The most exciting piece you’re probably going
to choose and buy is your fencing weapon. So, let’s talk about buying a foil and an
epee. You will want to choose what kind of grip it is you like to use. I prefer French
grips myself. The difference is largely preference, but I definitely recommend that beginners
begin with a French grip, just because it really helps establishing point control in
the beginning. Some people do like the pistol grips, which, you can see, is shaped a little
bit like a pistol. It can be comfortable in the hand, and that fits just like this over
your fingers. And it also helps keep from being disarmed. It’s really the primary advantage
of using a pistol grip is that it’s harder to lose control of this weapon or to be disarmed.
Where you can buy your weapon either pre-assembled or you can buy it custom, you can buy each
piece. Pre-assembled is easiest, especially in the beginning, but later, if you develop
specific preferences about your blade and your guard and your grip that you want to
specify, you can put it together yourself. You can also replace blades when they break.
Broken blades do happen. They happen regardless, but you can choose a weapon that is less likely
to break. So, something like a Chinese blade is pretty notorious for breaking easily, whereas
a Maraging blade is the highest standard. It’s the FIE regulation blade, and, not because
it won’t break, but because it’s ten times less likely to break. It’s a high nickel concentration,
low carbon concentration steel. So, I recommend that if you are willing to invest, and definitely
if you’re going into competition you will need it, but in the beginning any blade that
fits you works. So, in deciding what kind of blade fits you, you can only find out through
using it. But usually something that’s comfortable in your hand. People prefer different levels
of stiffness. A light blade is usually a good blade, so you’ll develop those preferences,
which is one reason why, in the beginning, it’s good to buy a starter blade, and as you
invest more in fencing you’ll probably want more than one. You can pick up a blade pretty
cheaply. You can get a blade for twenty-five dollars. A foil or an epee for twenty-five
dollars. Or you can spend a hundred and fifty dollars on up. So, it depends on what it is
that you want, and how much it is that you want to invest. But, in the end, it’s one
of the best investments you can make in your fencing because I like to have control over
what blade I have, and I like to have my own and I like to have a few of them.

17 thoughts on “How to Choose Fencing Equipment : Choosing a Weapon for Sword Fencing

  1. I'm trying to get into fencing and I'm VERY interested in learning… There is no doubt that I want to do this at all, so yeah.. I don't want to have a crappy blade that will break. I'm willing to throw money into this, but I'm still somewhat limited in what I can purchase…

    My question is what sword do you recommend for someone starting out that wants a french grip and has some money to put into this, but has no preference just yet due to lack of experience?

  2. is there a more extreme fencing, such as strong attacks that you can use with 2 hands, and maby larger blades. if not, anyone wanna help me create a style?
    pm me.

  3. @michwng
    French grips are still popular in Modern Fencing because of the wide variety of gripping methods available that you simply cannot get out of ortho grips. It also makes a good learner's grip. (I don't know exactly why, but I'll side with the majority's view on this one.)
    Although I will agree that they are a little too easy to fumble out of one's grip with a simple beat.
    For that reason, I prefer the Italian grip. (Advantages of the ortho grip combined with most of the handlingofFrench)

  4. Fencing is based on duelling not warfare so the blades are all one handed. if you want to do two handed try Kendo. Most fencing teachers know someone who teaches Kendo.

  5. I think the pistle grip is the best grip to start with; as not only is it the easiest to learn techniques with but also forces the the sword to be held correctly- unlike the french grip.

    I found I eventually began to use a gardere grip; but the pistle grip is generally best.

  6. As someone who primarily focuses on German Longsword HEMA I must say one thing… That pistol grip looks ridiculous, and I want one right now.

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