How to Score a Touche in Foil Fencing




Introduction: How to Score a Touche in Foil Fencing

The following instructions will allow you to score a touché (point) in foil fencing for beginners . They are the fundamental steps and are formatted for people interested in learning the basics of how to fence. The steps will guide you through the basic steps of fencing, starting with putting on the gear to the proper stances and footwork before finally teaching you how to score a touché.


•    foil
 •    vest
 •    mask
•    chest/breast protector (required only for women)


       •    breeches/knickers 
       •    plastron  

•    high socks

* Optional materials are required for formal fencing.


       Foil -
       a sword used for elementary fencing.
       It has no sharp edges and a button on
       the end.

       Vest -
       in fencing, the vest has a groin strap
       that goes between the legs, and fabric
       is sewn around the neck to prevent a
       blade from slipping under the mask.

       Mask -
       a fencing mask consists of metal mesh
       and a protective bib.

       Glove -
       one glove, with a protective gauntlet, is
       used on the hand holding the weapon.

Chest/breast protector -
plastic chest guard to protect breast,
       sternum, and ribs. Mandatory for women.

trousers that end just below the knee
       and often have suspenders attached.

Plastron -
       a one-armed underlining that allows
       for protection of the weapon arm.

High Socks -
knee-length or thigh high socks to
cover knees and thighs .


Minor injury may occur if the equipment isn't used as instructed.

Step 1:

Put on your safety gear. This includes the vest, glove, and chest protector for women. 


 •    The vest zips in the back, and its strap ties between
             your legs.
 •    The glove goes on your weapon hand. 


•    Plastron

Step 2:

Pick up the foil, grasping the handle in your hand and pointing the blade forward. This will be the default position for your foil.


   Keep your upper arm against your body.
   Make a 90° angle with your arm.
 •    Direct the blade straight out.

Step 3:

Salute to your opponent:

       A    Extend your sword arm.
       B    Lift your blade to a vertical position by bending your wrist.
       C    Bring the vertical blade close to your face. 
       D    Flick the blade in an outward arc toward the ground.


 •    You must always salute your opponent.
   •    Do not let your blade hit the ground in the final swing.
•    Your mask must be removed for the salute as a sign of respect.

Step 4:

Put on your mask and take the "ready" stance:

A    Place your feet hip distance apart.
B    Put your right foot forward.
C    Place your left foot perpendicular to you right foot,
              pointed away from your chest.
D    Return blade to position in step #2.
E    Squat slightly.
F    Hold your left hand slightly away from your body.

Step 5:

En-garde! Advance and retreat.


A    Step forward with your front foot, placing it heel to toe.
B    Then, step forward with the other foot, keeping it perpendicular.


Step backward with your rear foot, keeping it perpendicular.
B    Then, step backward with the other foot.


 •    Your legs move your body.
   Don't let your torso control your movements.   

Step 6:

Perform a beat on your opponent's foil:

A    Engage your blade with your opponent's blade.
B    With a small yet forceful flicking motion, knock your opponent's
              blade off guard.

Step 7:

Thrust and score. Having made an opening in your opponent’s defenses, lunge as the image shows with your free arm extended backwards.

Congratulations! You have now scored a touché in foil fencing.

Now that you've learned how to score a point, practice makes perfect. Learn these steps until they've become fluid, and then you can move on to the more in depth techniques involved in fencing, such as parry and riposte, a compound attack, feint in tempo, etc. It is important that you become comfortable with the basic footwork and movements before attempting anything else, as they lay the groundwork for many of the techniques. Please continue on to our list of common mistakes to help you master the basics.

Step 8: Common Mistakes

As a beginner to fencing, you're not expected to perform each round perfectly, but there are a few common mistakes that can occur. If you want to avoid getting into the habit of some of these common problems, please read through the following.

1. Too much stiffness in en guarde
Your weapon hand, while in the en guarde position, shouldn't be held too stiffly. Both your arm and wrist should be held comfortably with a bend in the elbow. Many beginners make this mistake, and as a result, they don't perform techniques fluidly enough and tire faster.

2. Failing to maintain an en guarde position
It is easy to fall out of the en guarde position when moving around your opponent, but it is essential to maintain the position, always keeping your eyes on your opponent.

3. Turning your front foot while lunging
Maintaining the proper footwork during your lunge is very important in order to preserve your strength and control. Many beginners focus more on point-control than their footwork and in doing so lunge with crooked footwork, looking sloppy.

4. Failing to salute your opponent
The salute is a traditional act of courtesy and is always displayed before a match. In competitions, failure to salute can lead to disqualification - that's how important it is. 

5. Over-extending a lunge
The knee should always be over the heel in a lunge, no further. If you over-extend and miss your target, you won't have time to recover when regaining your balance.

These are certainly not the only mistakes that can be made, and as with any sport, people can get hurt, so please use your weapons with caution and maturity. Sword fights are fast, but as a beginner, you can't expect to be there yet. With enough practice, you'll get there. But most of all, have fun.

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    Henry Jones
    Henry Jones

    6 years ago

    I tried fencing once, never really enjoyed it. I always enjoyed having lightsaber duels with my friends, and I'd much rather have a solid blade than a foil, you can't really have your own fighting style with a foil, with a blade, you have more room to improvise.

    Plus, if you ever are in a real situation where you have to defend yourself, fencing skills won't help, you will more than likely use a pipe or something


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Very cool. I'm about to start fencing lessons and this enlightened me quite abit. Thanks!


    10 years ago on Step 8

    All in all very well explained. I have been fencing for 3 years, The only thing that I would disagree with is failing to maintain en garde it is very rare to find a fencer that does this. It is much more common to find an absence of blade, this makes it harder for your opponent to find your blade to parry.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Excellent job! Everything is clearly explained and well demonstrated. I look forward to seeing more from you.