“Today there are two quite distinct philosophies in fencing. First, there is what I refer to as the “olympic style” or the “sport” of fencing. This high-tech game bears only the most vestigial resemblance to an actual duel, being solely and exclusively concerned with fencing as an athletic contest.
“Classical Fencing,” on the other hand, is the direct descendant of the 500 year evolution of the sword. In it, we strive to simulate as closely as possible a “frank encounter,” that is, a real fight with sharp swords. Like classical music (according to the Harvard Dictionary of Music), classical fencing strives toward a particular ideal of “poise, balance, proportion, simplicity, formal discipline, craftmanship, and universal and objective (rather than idiosyncratic and subjective) expression,” affording us a “standard or model of excellence that has enduring value.”
Classical Fencers certainly play contests “in sport” to exercise their virtuosity, but this is the least part and the least important part of practice. Instead of placing the focus on “athletic contests,” classical fencing emphasizes the practice of the sword as an art, a science and as recreation.
…My teacher, Mr. Logan, sometimes referred to fencing as “applied axiology.” For him it was the physical manifestation of chivalric philosophy. The more I practice, the more I find this to be true.”
-A.A. Crown, “Why Study Classical Fencing?”