By Sara Dayley
St. Louis County, Mo (KSDK) -- People interested in fencing can go to the MAC West in St. Louis County and learn from a former Olympic coach.
Participants learn a whole new vocabulary as soon as they walk in the door.
When two fencers go head to head, it's called a match or a bout and they last for three periods. Each period ends after three minutes or when once either fencer has scored 15.
Three types of weapons are used in Olympic fencing. In bouts, you can use the foil and the slightly heavier epée. Hits are scored by hitting an opponent with the tip of the weapon.
In sabre, hits are more commonly scored with the edge of the weapon.
Epée allows both fencers to score at the same time, while foil and sabre have rules of right of way and timing that mean only one fencer can score a hit at a time.
Both the area of play and scoring system for fencing are important and make it clear to anyone watching the match what is going on. Fencing bouts take place on a piste or what is also called the fencing strip. It measures 14 meters long and two meters wide. The lines on each side of the center line are known as the on-guard lines and that's where each fencer starts.
It's a fast action sport and that's hard to track. All the scoring is done with a 12-V circuit connected to the fencers' jackets and the colored lights register valid hits.
It's a very disciplined sport, with a very structured format and it requires incredible reaction time.
In the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the United States brought back a total of six medals, including one gold, three silver and two bronze.
Click on the video to watch NewsChannel 5's Pat McGonigle and Sara Dayley try fencing.