The Sabre

the sabre

The third of the three swords: "The Sabre". It's overal length is upto 105cm, the blade being of a maximum of 88cm, the hilt:-17cm. The blade is rectangular in cross-section, usually with a fuller runing down each side.

The rest of the weapon is composed of the following:

  • The end of the blade has a bent over end to prevent accidents occuring. There is no electric tip, instead there is a sensor inside the guard that makes a connection if the hit is applied with sufficient force to be valid;
  • the Guard, the sabre guard comprises a bowl with a knuckle guard. It has size restirictions of a maximum width accross the knucle guard of 15cm, and 14cm from side to side;
  • the Hilt, the handle of the weapon. It is less ergonomically shaped than the other weapons, with no left and right hand versions. (There are no different forms of hilt, hence no variations);
  • a small Pommel, this is actually a weight to help balance the weapon in your hand; and
  • no Martingale

Some Sabre Rules

The target area for the sabre is shown here in grey: it consists of the torso stopping level with the hips; the head, and the glove cuff of the sword hand.

a sabreurThe sabre is a point and edge weapon, hits are valid when the edge is hit onto the designated target area with what is determined sufficient force (there is a sensor in the hilt) to cause a cut:- if it was a real sharp weapon. Point hits are also valid. Hits only score a point if the fencer making the hit has the Priority. As in tennis one can only score on a service. Priority is given initially to the first person to initiate an attack, but it passes to the opponent after a parry. It is also forfeited by breaking the fencing time.

Sabre Equipment

sabre maskSabre Mask:For electric sabre the mask has a conductive metalised layer on the bib as well as the steel mesh of the face, to prevent mask targets hits registering as invalid.

Sabre laméSabre Lamé: The metalised target-area garment. It is wired to the mask (see below) and glove.

sabre gloveSabre Glove: The cuff is metalised and connects to the lamé. The hand does not conduct and is off target.

body wireBody Wire: This connects the weapon, and the lamé to the ground wire.

History of the Sabre

3 foilsAbove, an 1897 infantry sabre, and, below, a modern sport sabre.

During the 18th and 19th centuries, the predominant military sword was the edge weapon, the sabre. Training was carried out using wooden versions called "single sticks". It was in the mid-19th century that army-types replaced these with metal blades, and introduced the sabre as a sport weapon.

In 1880 the first annual competitions at foil and sabre are held at the Royal Military Tournament and the familiar white canvas jackets appear.

A fuller chronology of fencing history is to be seen on our fencing history page.