One of the first things your fencing coaches should teach you is proper etiquette. Proper fencing etiquette should be practiced during regular training and, as such, will become second nature when you are at a tournament or event. While there aren’t a lot of fancy movements to remember, most of them do come with significant meaning.

Be Prepared at All Times

Always take an extra weapon, body cord, and mask cord to a competition and keep them near you at all times. Keeping them near you will ensure you have access if you have a problem during your competition. Causing a delay in the competition by having to retrieve your gear from another area is disrespectful, disrupts the flow of the day, and may earn you a yellow card.

Saluting Before a Fencing Bout (or Lesson)

During a lesson, you should salute your coach. During a bout, you will first salute your opponent and he will salute you. This first salute is not a mere sign of respect, but represents a pledge that you will do your best to win the bout while at the same time following the rules of fencing to the best of your abilities. Doing your best at any given time is considered the only way to be fair to both yourself and your opponent.

Saluting After a Fencing Bout (or Lesson)

The salute after the bout is only slightly more complicated. The salute comes first and serves as a formal notation that the bout has ended. The bout does not end with the salute alone. After saluting, you remove your non-sword glove and put it under the arm you are holding your sword with. You then use your non-gloved hand to shake with your opponent. This time is when you are expected to thank your opponent for the match, his efforts, or to maybe even compliment some aspect of the bout you have just finished.

Yelling in Fencing

Yelling tends to be a part of any sport, but there is a right and a wrong way to yell. In epee, yelling is often associated with a release of tension and is also used when there is a touch and score. In sabre in foil, opponents often yell after touching for a point.

Of course, etiquette is important in yelling. You should always turn away from your opponent, never yelling directly in his face. You should never, ever yell anything unsportsmanlike. Doing so can be considered a disruption and could earn you a card in a tournament scenario. There are a lot of opinions regarding the use of yelling in fencing.

The basics of fencing etiquette, especially saluting and shaking, are common across the board. Other aspects involve a little bit of creative interpretation depending on your club, area of study, and type of weapon. If in doubt, talk to your coach about what is appropriate and what is not – both in training and in competition.

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