All classes are performed with proper protective equipment. No swords have sharp points or cutting edges.
Equipment is provided for beginners
The Foil was the light blunted training weapon.
A thrusting weapon, points are scored with the tip only; the valid target is restricted to the torso; double touches are not allowed. The foil was originally developed in the 18th century as a training weapon for the duel.
Foil and Sabre by Louis Rondelle 1892
Fencing by Camille Prevost from the Badminton Library 1889
The Épée or Dueling Sword was a heavier sword used in personal duels.
The dueling sword had a sharp tip for thrusting, but no cutting edge. Duels were commonly to first blood, so every part of the body is the target.
The epee as a training sword was established in the second half of the 19th century by fencers who felt that the conventions of foil were too restrictive and wanted to simulate more accurately the feel of the duel.
Duelling Sword Sources:
Le jeu de l’epee by Jules Jacob 1887
L’escrime a l’epee by Spinnewyn & Manoury 1898
By the 19th Century fencing was transitioning from self-defense to recreation for both men and women. However, being challenged to a duel was still a risk, and the military trained with the saber, so fencing continued to be a practical matter. Using period manuals we recreate the styles of fencing of the 19th century.
The Saber was the edged weapon used by the military.
The Saber was the cutting weapon: Hits may be made with edge of the blade, as well as the point. This was the type of sword used by the military and is meant for battlefield combat.
Art of Defense on Foot by Roworth and Taylor 1804
Sword Exercise by Henry C. Wayne 1850
Cold Steel by Alfred Hutton 1889
A popular 19th century wooden training sword with a leather guard, meant to simulate the saber. Hits are scored with the edge. The target is the head. In the 18th century singlestick was a popular game played at fairs and festivals.
Broadsword and Singlestick by Allanson-Winn and Phillipps-Wolley
The smallsword was a light sword used for thrusting. It was the popular dueling and fencing sword of the 18th century.
School of Fencing by Domenico Angelo 1787
Besides these primary styles, the Victorian Fencing Society explores other martial arts of the Victorian era, including Bartitsu, Bayonet Fencing, Foil and Dagger and Bowie Knife.