Piste (fencing)

Piste (fencing)

In modern fencing, the piste or strip is the playing area. Regulations [http://www.fie.ch/] [http://www.britishfencing.com/] requires the piste to be 14 meters long and between 1.8 and 2 meters wide; the last two meters on each end are hash-marked, so as to warn a fencer before he/she backs off the end of the strip. There is also a 1.5 meter runoff to allow fencers who "flèche". The piste is also marked at the center and at the "en guard" lines, located two meters either side of the center line.

Retreating off the end of the strip with both feet gets a touch against. Going off the side of the strip with one foot halts the fencing action and the fencers are placed "en guard" in the middle of the piste, away from the side. Going off the side with both feet gets a penalty of the loss of one meter, and if this results in the offender going off the end of the piste, a point is awarded to his opponent.

After each touch, fencers begin again at the center of the strip, 4 meters apart, or roughly at a position where their blades can nearly touch when fully extended. If no touch is scored but play was halted, the fencers come "en guard" at the position they were stopped.

Most pistes at fencing tournaments are "grounded" to the scoring box, thus any hits that a fencer makes against the floor will not be registered as a touch.

Types of Piste

There are three different types of piste:

1. Rubber conductive piste
Made from conductive material with a rubber back; lightweight, approximately 25kg.

2. Aluminium section piste
Made from sections of rolled alumminum which are bolted together; weighs approximately 300kg

3. Metallic piste
Made from woven metal with no backing; weighs approximately 70kg


1. English Language Rules [http://www.britishfencing.com/Attachments/911_May%202007%20book_m.pdf]

External links

[1] http://www.fie.ch/ French language version of Rules

[2] http://www.britishfencing.com/ English language version of Rules available here

[3] http://www.usfencing.com/ US Fencing Rules available here

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