Epee: The whole body is target, and the goal is to hit your opponent before they hit you. The weapon is based on the concept of dueling to “first blood,” where the first person cut loses.
Foil: Originally developed to teach the duel, foil is a point weapon like epee, but only the torso counts for points. Additionally, a fencer has to have “right of way” to score if both fencers hit. This is to teach a fencer to defend and not just attack first.
Saber: Target is from the waist up, and right-of-way determines the point. Descended from the cavalry saber, this fast-paced weapon lost the horses but not the charging.