The sport of fencing has three different weapons: epee, foil and sabre. While they all fall under the same sport, each weapon has different equipment, rules and regulations. Find out more about each weapon below.
Epee is a thrusting-only weapon, meaning touches will be scored with the tip of your weapon. The whole body is the target area in epee, which means that you can hit anywhere from the mask to the shoes. Unlike foil and sabre, touches can be scored when both athletes hit at the same time. Since epee doesn't follow the "right of way" rules like foil and sabre, it is typically the easiest discipline to understand as a spectator.
Much like epee, foil is also a thrusting-only weapon. While these two disciplines have some similarities, the target area and "right of way" rules make foil slightly more complex. The target area in foil is the torso, which is indicated by a secondary layer made of electrically conductive material called a lamé. This material also covers the bottom bib area of the mask. If a fencer hits anywhere on the body that isn't covered by the lamé, it is considered "off-target" and no point will be scored.
Sabre is the only slashing weapon in fencing, and has a target area of the head, arms and torso. Much like foil, sabre fencers will also wear a lamé that covers their target area. Sabre is also the fastest of the three disciplines and follows "right of way" rules, much like foil. When both opponents hit at the same time, "right of way" decides who is awarded the touch. At a basic level, if both fencers hit on target at the same time, the fencer who initiated the attack is awarded the point.