Every sport has its own terminology and language. Even if you’re not well-versed in the rules of football, you will probably understand this:
In fencing, referees speak in a kind of sign language that helps fencers, coaches, and spectators understand their calls. These signs demonstrate the referee’s interpretation of the actions that led up to a touch being awarded or the action being halted. They also ensure that people who aren’t close enough to hear the referee (or who can’t speak the language being spoken) will understand what’s happening on strip. Most of the signals are the same across the three weapons–I’ll label the photos of them by action. If the action is weapon-specific, I’ll show it in parentheses. I have also included front (what a fencer sees) and back (what a spectator sees) views of the same hand signals.
A huge “thank you” to SabreCat referee Annamaria Lu for serving as the model in these photos.
If you’re interested, here are pdf files to show the various hand signal of several sports: