During a qualification round-robin, bouts last a maximum of three minutes, or until one athlete has scored five hits. There is then a knockout phase, in which bouts last a maximum of nine minutes (three periods of three minutes), or until one athlete has scored 15 hits.
In both the Individual and Team events, athletes progress through the draw until the finals, which decides the winners of the gold medals.
In the event of a tie in a match, athletes fence for a further one minute, with one of the athletes randomly assigned priority. The first to score a hit is the winner, but if no hits are made during this time, the athlete with priority wins the bout.