Fencers employ ancient and modern customs: combatants still salute before a bout and wear the traditional white uniforms and masks, but scoring is now determined by electronic devices that register when a hit occurs with colour-coded lights.
Fencing is a truly global sport, practised on every continent of the world and one of only six sports to have been represented in every one of the modern Olympic Games. Cubans and Russians are counted among the best fencers in the world and South Africa can boast of two African champions since 1999.

The sport requires both athletic and mental discipline and it has therefore been described as “physical chess” because of the intricate tactics and strategies that underlie the bout. It does not require that the body develop in a particular way, as would be required of a gymnast, but agility, coordination and fine motor control are key.