This epoch was characterized by the ritualistic nature of fencing bouts. Fencing was about masterly technique as much as it was about elegance and gallantry. Salutations before the bout, respectful bows, refined manners – all of this became an integral part of fencing.
During the 19th century, fencing shaped as a sport. Sport fencing developed most actively in France, Italy, Austro-Hungary, and Germany.
Origins of modern fencing in Russia
Interest in "rapier art" emerged in Russia in the early 18th century. In 1701, Peter the Great established the Moscow school of mathematical and navigational sciences, whose curriculum included for the first time a required subject called "rapier science". At the Naval Academy of Sciences that opened in St. Petersburg in 1719, "rapier science" was also included in the academic curriculum. Subsequently, fencing gymnasia opened at the universities of Moscow and Kazan. The first fencing instructors in Russia were foreigners. Yet already in the first half of the 19th century the number of fencing instructors in Russia increased substantially owing to Russian fencing masters who graduated from military educational institutions. From 1860 Russia had been holding the first fencing tournaments for the title of the Champion of Russia. At the turn of the 20th century, Russia saw a large number of printed works, the so-called "fencing manuals". At around the same time Russian fencers started appearing in international tournaments.