The sword has accompanied man through the centuries, shaping history and defining civilizations and our imagination. Today the sword lives on in the modern sport of fencing and its three weapons of foil, epee and sabre.

The origins of sport fencing date back to the 14th or 15th century with both Italy and Germany laying claim to transforming swordfighting into a sport. Fencing was first included in the 1896 Olympic Games and has featured in every Olympic Games since then.

Fencing is growing throughout the world, expanding from its historical base in Europe to the Americas, Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Fencing is found in more than 30 countries throughout Africa with North African fencers emerging as a force in world fencing.


Fencing in South Africa is overseen by the Fencing Federation of South Africa (FFSA) at a national level. FFSA is a member of both the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) and the Federation Internationale d'Escrime (FIE), the global body that manages fencing. At a provincial level, fencing is managed by provincial fencing federations such as Fencing Western Cape (FWC).

The standard of South African fencing continues to increase through initiatives such as national and provincial high performance programme. In recent years, South African fencers have won gold, silver and bronze medals in African Championships, the African Games and Commonwealth Fencing Championships.

The Western Cape is one of the largest fencing provinces in the country and besides performance fencing is also leading the way in club leagues.


Beneath the grace and fluid movement of fencing is an intense physical workout that is great for all round fitness, muscle toning, building core strength and cardiovascular endurance.

The precision and multi-directional movement of fencing helps with speed and improves agility, flexibility, balance, hand-eye coordination and timing. The explosive start-stop nature of fencing improves anaerobic fitness.

An hour-long fencing workout burns approximately 400 calories per hour and a competitive nine-minute bout can use up as much energy as a 1.5 km run.


Fencing is often dubbed physical chess because of the strategy, tactics and quick decision making that determine the physical movements of body and blade and the outcome of the bout.

Fencing helps develop powers of observation and deduction to understand an opponent's intentions and actions and rapid analysis and agile decision making to develop and implement a strategy.

Fencing is about constantly adapting strategy within a bout and from one opponent to the next. No circumstance is constant, no opponent the same. Fencing is the art of strategy made real.


Fencing crosses generations and genders offering everyone an opportunity to participate and excel. The fittest and strongest are not guaranteed victory with strategy and technique often triumphing speed and power.

Fencing is the greatest equalizer with fencers in their 60s beating opponents in their 20s and women beating men.

It is never too late to take up fencing with many people picking up the blade in their 40s and older. There is a Western Cape league for fencers over 25 and international championships for fencers 40 years and older with many fencing into their 60s and 70s.

10 Anson Street
Cape Town
Tel: 083 61 60 967

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