How Do You Hold A Fencing Sabre?

How do you hold a fencing sabre? This is one of the most common questions asked by new fencers and also by experienced fencers who want to learn how to hold their weapons correctly.

The correct way to hold your sword will help you in many ways, but it’s not always easy to find out how to hold your sabre properly.

How Do You Hold A Fencing Sabre

The first thing that you need to know when holding a fencing sabre is that there are different types of swords. There are three main types: foil, sabre, and epee. In this article, we’ll focus on the epee type of sword.

The second thing that you need to understand about fencing sabres is that they have specific rules for holding them. These rules vary from country to country and even from region to region within countries.

It’s important to follow these rules as they can make or break your game.

What Are The Different Types Of Fencing Weapons?

As we’ve already discussed, for fencing, there are three types of blades. They are:

  • Foil – The foil blade has a very thin profile with a sharp edge at both ends. It’s usually used for training purposes.
  • Epee – The epee blade has a thicker profile than the foil blade. It’s usually used in competitive matches.
  • Sabre – The sabre blade is longer and heavier than the other two types of blades. It’s often used in competitions.

There are also some variations of each of these types of blades. For example, the sabre may be straight or curved. Some sabres have a guard while others don’t. And some sabres may have a tip instead of an end-point.

There are different styles of fencing too. Each style has its own unique characteristics, and they’re defined by the type of sabre being used, and so don’t have their own names. Rather, the fencing style is implied by the blade in use.

Holding Your Epee Sword Properly

Fencing Basics: How To Hold The Saber

The most important thing when learning how to fence is to learn the proper technique. This will allow you to be more efficient, increase your range, and improve your footwork. Once you have learned the proper technique, it’s time to learn how to hold the saber.

There are three basic positions that you can use when holding an epee sword. These positions are called:

  • Lunge
  • Parry
  • Riposte

In each of these positions, you should be able to see all of your opponent’s weapons without having to look away from him/her.

As the blade is long and thin, it is balanced towards the very center of the hilt, meaning when you hold your sabre, you should be gripping it as close to the blade side of the hilt as possible. This will give you the most control over your movements. 

  • Lunge – This is your basic attacking maneuver. Your sword arm should be fully extended, whilst your back leg remains stationary, allowing your front to let you move around to face your opponent.
  • Parry – This is your basic defensive block to protect from an opponent’s lunge. When you parry, the blade should be moved via the wrist, and the arm should remain as straight as possible. 
  • Riposte – This is the counterattack lunge used once you have blocked an opponent’s lunge with a parry. 

The Basic Rules Of Holding An Epee Sword

Before we go any further, let’s take a quick look at some of the basics of holding an epee sword:

  1. Make sure that your elbow is bent so that your forearm is parallel to the ground.
  2. Don’t allow your wrist to move up and down. Instead, keep your wrist steady and firm.
  3. Keep your fingers spread apart so that your thumb points straight ahead.
  4. When you’re ready to thrust your sword forward, bring your arm back until your wrist is perpendicular to the ground.
  5. Thrust your sword forward again.

If you are a newbie, give your sabres a thumbs up. It’s not too hard because it’s the best weapon! 

You can see that the pad of your thumb rests flat against the grip. Don’t move it from there. It’s fine where it is.

Until you build up the muscles in your hands and fingers, the position described above helps you get used to holding your weapon properly.

Eventually, your other fingers should release and grip the weapon again as you fence, but your thumb should remain tight.

What Are The Different Parts Of A Sabre?

What Are The Different Parts Of A Sabre

Sabre Blade

A sabre blade is made out of steel or carbon fiber and measures between 60cm and 80cm long. It has two sharpened edges which face outward and meet at a 90-degree angle.


There are many types of handles available for fencing sabers. Some common ones include:

  1. Wooden handles. They come in various sizes and shapes.
  2. Plastic handles. These are also very popular.
  3. Rubber grips.
  4. Metal grips.
  5. Leather grips.

All of these types of handles help you hold onto your saber more securely.


The grip of a sabre is designed to fit snugly around your hand. This way when you make contact with your opponent, you won’t lose control of your weapon.

There are three main types of grips available for fencing sabers:

  1. Fingerless Grips.
  2. Thumbless Grips.
  3. Combination Grips.

Fingerless Grips

These grips only cover your fingertips. They are great if you want to practice with your sabre without actually hitting someone.

Thumbless Grips

These are similar to fingerless grips except they leave your thumb exposed. They are perfect for people who like to hit their opponents.

Combination Grips

This type of grip covers your entire hand. It provides excellent balance while allowing you to use all five fingers on your hand.

Final Thoughts

There you have it, a very quick breakdown on how to hold your sabre and the different parts of your weapon. Get to grips with it, practice often, and be sure to always play it safe until you learn more about the sport.

Christopher Anderson
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