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In the broadest possible sense, fencing is the art of armed combat involving cutting, stabbing, or bludgeoning weapons directly manipulated by hand, rather than shot, thrown or positioned, of European origin. Examples include swords, knives, pikes, bayonets, batons, clubs, and similar weapons. In contemporary common usage, "fencing" tends to refer specifically to European schools of swordsmanship and to the modern Olympic sport that has evolved out of them.
Fencing is one of the four sports which has been featured at every modern Olympic Games. Currently, three types of weapon are used in Olympic fencing:
Foil ¡ª a light thrusting weapon; the valid target is restricted to the torso; double touches are not allowed (see priority rules below).
Epee ¡ª a heavy thrusting weapon; the valid target area covers the entire body; double touches are allowed.
Sabre ¡ª a light cutting and thrusting weapon; the valid target area includes almost everything above the waist (excluding the back of the head and the hands); double touches are not allowed (see priority rules below).