FOIL: "The Training Weapon"
Once dueling became available to the "common man", schools emerged throughout Europe. Students of the art found that through more concentrated study of distance and tactics, only one weapon was needed for the skilled swordsman, and the smaller sidearm disappeared. To enhance training, a lighter weapon for one's principle fighting hand was fashioned from rolled steel foil. Known as "the foil", this easily handled weapon was most frequently used in fencing schools to practice with fellow students or take lesson with one's fencing master. Consequently, special rules were put in place to reward the best tactics, precision and logic. Those rules included a target area of only lethal consequences (that is, the torso only, front and back). Because adequate facial protection was difficult in the 17th century, the head is not valid target area.
Foil's Rules of "Right of Way"
Because the game of foil was originated to reward the best technique, tactics and logic, special rules of "right of way" were developed. These rules help to equalize inherent disadvantages between two fencers, such as height differences. Fencers are awarded points based on who executed the best offense or defense in theory as well as in practice. In this way the smartest fencer, not necessarily the biggest or the strongest, wins the game! Click here for a more detailed explanation! (continue your virtual intro to fencing by viewing our expanation of right of way!)
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