Fencing has a long and colorful history, starting over 3,000 years ago in Egypt. The history of the sabre (or saber) is an evolution based on actual combat. It has a distinct advantage over other fencing options, which is why it is often among the first weapons a student chooses.

Though Egyptian history depicts individuals sword fighting and even training with wooden swords, it was the use of the cavalry that really gives the sabre its place in history and reason for the way it is used today. This was the primary weapon used on horseback, so it stands to reason that the one who uses the sabre must focus the strikes anywhere above the waist, excluding the hands, but including the head. These are the same targets that would have been accessible from horseback.

History of Fencing - Silversword Fencing Academy

Modern Fencing: Mojtaba Abedini of Iran and Andriy Yagodka of Ukraine during the men’s Individual Sabre Rio Olympic Games 2016.

The biggest advantage of using the sabre is that it offers more ways to strike. This is because rather than only using the tip of the blade, the sabre can be used to slice as well as thrust. Though its use is largely derived from its history in the cavalry, that doesn’t mean the sabre has not evolved into modern times. In most competitions it employs electronic signals so that judges know when the opponents make contact and with which part of the blade they do so. The history of the sabre is long and well documented, though it was once scorned as being “too light” by those who did not use it from horseback.