1. Most of us think of fencing as weird swordfighting for rich people to do inside private gyms in their posh mansions.
James Bond was all about fencing. Fencing handsomely.
2. Well, we’re wrong. Fencing, which is going on at the Rio Olympics right now, is a tremendous athletic activity, and it’s actually completely badass.
3. First of all, fencing is one of only FIVE activities that have been featured in every single modern Olympics (alongside athletics, cycling, swimming, and gymnastics).
5. This is what the individual épée rounds look like.
6. It’s like a beautiful ballet. Except the ballet dancers have SWORDS.
7. You wear these cool AF electronic masks that look like they’re straight out of Star Wars.
They register every instance of your opponent’s weapon making contact with your suit.
9. You compete on this crazy stick of gum looking thing called a piste.
10. And the fencers move so quickly that it looks like a cool ’80s music video.
11. You’ve probably seen a fencing weapon before, but up close, they look straight out of the Middle Ages.
Individual fencing bouts consist of three 3-minute rounds, or until one of the competitors scores 15 points by striking their opponent with one of these bad boys.
12. In épée fencing, the ENTIRE BODY is a target.
That’s right, head to freakin’ toe.
13. In fact, this is what women fencers have to wear to protect their chests.
Looks super comfy!