The fencing foil has long been used in sword training. In fact, it get its name from the way that swords were detailed in order to make them safer to train with. Today, it’s one of the most popular forms of fencing that is used in training and competition.
In the 18th century, the small sword was a common accessory to be seen hanging at the sides of gentlemen. Because this sword was so popular, there were many instances of training with it. In many cases, people died during training as it was focused on the torso and groin area, the same areas that are the targets in modern day foil fencing. In situation where people didn’t have any desire for training to end in death, the sword was wrapped in a “foil” to blunt it and keep it from causing real damage. The tip, which is the only part that is supposed to make contact in modern fencing, was capped with a “blossom” to prevent it from spearing the opponent during training.
Today, those training methods and instruments have evolved to use a fencing foil, so no one is wrapping their swords or getting hurt. The tip is still the only point that should make contact and many places rely on electronic foils to score this contact. There is a spring loaded device in the tip, when the opponent has “priority” and makes contact using the tip, the spring loaded device is pushed in and the opponent scores.