The epee (pronounced “EPP-pay,” meaning sword in French), is the descendant of the dueling sword, is similar in length to the foil, but is heavier, weighing approximately 27 ounces, with a larger guard (to protect the hand from a valid hit), and has a much stiffer blade. Touches are scored only with the point of the blade, and the entire body, head-to-toe, is the valid target area, imitating an actual duel.
A full-body target naturally makes epee a competition of careful strategy and patience – wild, rash attacks are quickly punished with solid counter-attacks. Therefore, rather than attacking outright, epeeists often spend several minutes probing their opponent’s defenses and maneuvering for a distance before risking an attack. Others choose to stay on the defensive throughout the entire bout.