Can Fencing Be Used for Self-Defence?

When it comes to self-defence, techniques like karate and jiu-jitsu are the first things that come to mind. But what about fencing? Is it possible to use fencing as a form of self-defence?

Fencing has become increasingly popular over recent years as both a competitive sport and an art. Unlike sports such as karate or boxing, fencing does not have an obvious defensive application, making it difficult for some to see how it could be used in cases of self-defence.

But fencing can indeed be adapted for the purpose of self-protection. Fencing techniques can be useful in controlling opponents, disabling attackers and providing enough distance between you and them. In this article, we will explore how fencing skills can be adapted to suit self-defence applications, along with the advantages and disadvantages of doing so.

How Fencing Helps With Self-Defence

Fencing is an excellent way to learn self-defence techniques. The sport teaches you how to control your opponent’s movements, as well as how to defend yourself against their attacks. Fencing also helps you develop quick reflexes and the ability to think on your feet.

The primary benefit of fencing for self-defence is that it allows you to maintain a safe distance from your attacker while still being able to defend yourself. This is especially important in situations where physical contact with the attacker would be dangerous or impossible. Fencing also provides an opportunity to practise defensive strategies such as parrying and counter-attacking, which can be useful in real-life scenarios.

In general, fencing teaches you broad qualities that can be applied to many self-defence scenarios:

  • Adrenaline control
  • Distance control
  • Cardio
  • Agility
  • Endurance
  • Rapid decision-making

 These might prove useful in situations where you are forced to defend yourself. 

Fencing Swords and Self-Defence

In many developed countries, fencing swords are broadly considered sporting equipment, and as such are often not classed as weapons. However, it is important to check local laws to understand the law in detail as it pertains to fencing swords. 

At FencerTips we would never endorse the use of fencing swords for non-fencing purposes. In any case, fencing swords are generally useless for anything else other than their intended purpose. The reason why they are considered sporting equipment is generally because they are so ineffective as weapons, with swords being made safer over time, making them what they are today.


Is fencing good for self-defence?

Yes, fencing is an excellent way to learn self-defence principles. Fencing teaches you reflexes and body positioning, as well as the ability to think strategically and quickly in a defensive situation.

 Does fencing help in a fight?

Fencing can be an advantage, but in most cases it is not the best and most direct way of learning self-defence techniques. It is better to focus on learning self-defense techniques that are more directly practical and suitable for close-range combat scenarios.

What is the best martial art for self defence?

Arguably, the best martial art for self defence is Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, due to its emphasis on sweeps, throws and submissions. It also provides the practitioner with an effective way to defend against a stronger opponent. However, as Mike Tyson famously said, "Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth".

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