En Garde Grab your sword

flickr jim.gordon

Sometimes when I am doing crossword puzzles, the answer is some kind of sword.  This got me to think about the different varieties of swords.  Here is some information to help you discern what type is used for what.

 The term sword seems to be somewhat generic, and there are different ones for different uses.  For the most part, a sword is a weapon consisting of a long, straight or slightly curved blade.  It can be sharp-edged on one or both sides, with one end pointed and the other fixed in a hilt or handle.

 Foil, epee and saber are types of swords used for fencing.

FOIL – Most commonly used in competition, and usually the choice for elementary classes for fencing in general.  It has a light, slender and flexible blade tipped with a button.  The foil is the lightest and most flexible of the fencing weapons.

EPEE – has a three-sided blade and a guard over the tip. It has a bowl-shaped guard and a long, narrow, fluted blade that has no cutting edge and tapers to a blunted point. The epee is heavier and more rigid version of the foil,

SABER —   Also has a three-sided blade and a guard over the tip.  Sabers have been made and used for centuries, and their exact origins are unknown. They are probably related to Middle Eastern blades.  

 A saber has an arched guard that covers the back of the hand and a tapering flexible blade. It has a full cutting edge along one side and a partial cutting edge on the back at the tip.  The saber is the lightest and most flexible of the fencing weapons.

 These blades often show up on military dress uniforms as an indicator of rank and status.  The saber was the sword used by the cavalry also.

 And, yes I know I left out the Star Wars lightsaber.

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