Circle d'Escrime
Sellersville, PA

Weapons and Class Descriptions

The three weapons of modern fencing are the foil, the epee, and the sabre. The school offers group and individual lessons in all three, as well as group lessons in historical rapier.

All beginners start with the foil to learn the basic movements and proper safety. It is a lightweight blade with a rectangular cross-section. Points can only be scored with the tip (button/fly) of the blade. Only the torso is valid target area; the head, arms, and legs are considered off-target. After pre-requisites have been met, a student may choose to begin lessons in either epee or sabre.

Epee is the descendent of the dueling blade. It has a heart or “V” shaped cross-section, a larger bell-guard, and is heavier and longer than the foil. The entire body is considered valid target area, literally from head-to-toe. Like foil, points can only be scored with the tip of the blade.

The sabre is reminiscent of the original cavalry weapon. Even though the modern fencing sabre is much lighter and faster, the same use of forward cuts, back cuts, and thrusts are employed. Valid target area is everything from the waist up, especially the head.

Our school also offers a recreational course in another weapon called the rapier. The double-sided blade is very heavy and can be used in combination with a dagger, shield, cloak, etc. This course is designed to demonstrate old rapier fighting techniques used throughout history and learn about the function/origin of the weapon. It’s also a recommended class for anyone with an interest in theatrical swordplay or stage choreography. Additional safety equipment is required and students must be 13 years or older to participate in this course.

Competitive Fencing

Circle d’Escrime does not require its students to compete in order to take lessons. Students may fence purely for recreational or exercise purposes. Likewise, there are no rules or restrictions on how often a competitive fencer should attend tournaments. For students who are interested in the possibility of competing, we would encourage you to take at minimum the full set of beginner courses and the footwork class prior to entering a competition, so that you are familiar with all of the basic moves and safety precautions.

Fencers are required to have a valid competitive membership when attending a USFA competition at any level. Two blades, two body cords, two mask cords (foil & sabre only), a lame (foil & sabre only), and a full uniform are also required for sanctioned events. To compete in adult categories, you must be 13 years of age or older. The majority of local, divisional, and regional events are open to fencers of any skill level, however larger events like Nationals or the Junior Olympics will require fencers to participate in qualifiers. For more information on qualifying paths or youth categories, please speak to one of our instructors or visit the Official USFA website, which is listed in the News Articles & Other Links section of our page.