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Fencing bouts take place on a piste, and feature two fencers and a referee. The type of weapon is decided in advance. Typical weapons are the: epee, foil and saber. Before the bout begins, opponents will test their weapons and the electronic scoring apparatus. They then retreat to the on-guard lines and salute each other. Fencers must stop and start at the referee's command. Bouts are always stopped when the electronic scoring apparatus registers a touch. Once a touch has occurred, the opponent who scored it is awarded points, and the fencers return their on-guard lines. Bouts are timed, usually lasting 9 minutes. Bouts end once a fencer has recorded 15 points, or the time limit expires.
Fencing is the sport of fighting with swords, in order to score points against an opponent. Fencers use foils, epees and sabers to attack and defend against an opponents' attacks. Fencing, or the safe way to sword fight, is the art of armed combat. Opponents strategically battle each other using cutting, stabbing or slapping weapons directly manipulated by hand. Points are scored by landing touches on the opponents' body.
The first manuals on fencing came from Spain, which suggests the sport may have originated there. There are also strong historical links in Italy and France. By the late 16th century, the printing press had spread knowledge and technique of fencing all over Europe. Due to its violent nature, many fencing masters were injured or killed while dueling. To limit injuries, French fencers began wrapping foil around blades or fastening knobs to the point. This method of safer fencing became the norm, and was carried on as serious dueling declined. By the first half of the 19th century, fencing bouts were carried out in controlled settings, and were scored by a panel of judges. This form of fencing was featured in the first Olympic games in 1896. In the 1930's judges were replaced by electronic scoring that could more accurately detect when a touch had been made.