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On guard: fencing for dummies

Posted at 1:15 pm, July 15, 2012 in Olympics & Paralympics
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We’ve all grabbed a branch, walking stick, pencil or chopstick and challenged someone to a duel to the death at least once in our life. It’s understandable seeing as fencing is the closest thing we have to real life lightsaber battles. The graceful, lethal sport may be something we’re all aware of, but how many of us actually know what’s really going on? Well, we’re here to get straight to the point.Converted:A noble art, at once violent and graceful, which dates back to the twelfth century and is the closest you’ll get to a legal gladiatorial duel in the Stratford area.

Confused: A swordfight where no one gets slayed or even particularly hurt – pointless.

Street cred: A sabre will always be an impressive accessory, although you would get stared at, and possibly arrested, if you carried one on the street. Unless it was plastic and you were seven.

The basics: There are three types of weapon: epée, foil and sabre. They all have distinct rules but, in general, you get a point for cleanly hitting your opponent with the tip or edge of the sword.

Athlete to watch: Glamorous Italian Valentina Vezzali is married to a footballer and has five Olympic gold medals in the foil.

Not to be confused with: Two beekeepers having a disagreement that got out of hand.

For more info, see timeout.com/olympics.

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