of the duelling rapier, this weapon is used in the Modern Pentathlon.
thrusting sword and valid hits can be scored with the point of
the weapon on any part of the opponent's body, including the head.
scored by being the first to hit anywhere, anyhow, anytime, just
History of the Epee
sword evolved during the nineteenth century when the small-sword
had ceased to be worn. It is the same length as the foil and sabre,
but the blade is much stouter than that of the foil, is triangular
in section and the forte is fluted, i.e. grooved, to allow the
blood to drain away. As the target includes the whole body, the
guard is constructed in the characteristic cup shape to protect
the hand and wrist. As the arm forms an advanced target, the fencing
measure is much longer than that at foil - approximating in fact
to the sabre measure - and the vulnerability of the sword-arm
tends to restrict the positions and parries to the outside lines.
Nevertheless, the basic epee technique is very similar to that
of foil, only modified by the tactical considerations dictated
by the longer fencing measure, the unrestricted target and the
absence of conventions, i.e. right of way.
the idea was to reproduce as closely as possible the conditions
of an actual duel and consequently the first fencer to receive
a hit was adjudged the loser. Subsequently, the number of hits
was increased, first to the best of five in 1932, finally to the
best of nine in 1955, similarly to the other weapons and accordingly
somewhat reducing the realism. In pursuance of verisimilitude,
moreover, the majority of epee competitions took place in the
open air; not until 1937 was the British Championship held indoors
at Salle Bertrand.
The epee was
the first weapon to be electrified, with a spring-head in place
of the point d'arret (triple barged flat head) previously used
to cover the sharp point left exposed when duelling.
for epee, like those of foil and sabre, were more or less definitively
framed in Paris in 1914, by codifying the several existing sets