Are Those Real Swords?

Yes and no.  When most people think of swords they think about broadswords as used by King Arthur or Conan.  These swords were used in the Middle Ages to cut through heavy armor worn by knights and soldiers.

“Shining” armor was useless once gunpowder was invented and, consequently, this heavy armor was set aside. Over time another sword called the rapier replaced the broadsword.  The rapier was much lighter, faster and used primarily for stabbing.

In today’s world, the two weapons called the foil and epee are used in sport fencing.  Replace the blunted tips with a sharp point and each weapon would be deadly, indeed.  These weapons are the final evolution of the rapier and court sword.  Fencers have chosen the fun and excitement of Olympic fencing over dueling and death.  Not a bad choice, really.

Today’s saber, the third weapon of Olympic fencing, was derived from the Oriental scimitar.  The scimitar was a cutting and stabbing weapon. The saber of today is blunted on the cutting edge and the tip, but, just as with foil and epee, it would be a deadly weapon if sharpened.

Mark Brandyberry

River City Fencing of West Lafayette, Indiana

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