The original foil style was based on smallsword technique, not rapier, so it's apples and oranges to compare it to rapier. Also keep in mind that there were many different styles of "rapier" most were actually schlagger blades, which were heavier, straight, tapered blades descended from the cut and thrust blades of the knights. There were rapiers that measured from the ground to the armpit (obviously not for cutting) there were some that were very much like a straight saber (fantastic for cutting) some flexed a lot (in order to slide past the ribcage -- not for extra speed ast was mentioned above) some had a triangle cross-section with a ridge cut into it (like a modern epee) to keep the blade from fencing at all. What you really have to ask is what styles were "strong". Each "master" developed his own theory based on his own culture, his previous training, the materials at hand, and often his religion. Then he developed a sword specifically recommended for that purpose, often down to what kind of a hilt should be used. For instance, there was a guy named Saviolo (who I study) who advocated a medium-length rapier of medium weight. He focused primarily on thrusts to the ribcage (turn the "guard" aka quillions, horizontal to the ground to slide past the ribs) and just above the hip. You only cut if your tip was forced off line, and it was a well-trained cut to the throat, the arm, or the arteries between your legs. His swords could easily penetrate the body and reach out the back. There's another guy named Marozzo, (who I also study) who is from an earlier school, who uses a rapier that's almost comparable to a one-handed sword. It's short (around 34 inch blade) and (relatively) heavy. This sword was often used with a buckler (a small, round shield). It's primary purpose was cutting, with both the strong and weak sides (that's part of the reason it was straight). It was weighted forward for maximum stopping power, but was still considered a rapier. The third guy I study is named Thibault. He uses a medium-long sword (barely short enough to be able to draw from a waist scabbard), which is very sturdy, and weighted a little forward. He almost exclusively used thrusts delivered with the power of the full body behind it. (Called "finishing with rigour"). He believed firmly that his swords could fully penetrate a skull, and many of his training pictures show drawings of a sword embedded to the hilt in some poor guy's face. The only cuts that he taught were by laying the sword tip against a throat and pushing the length of the sword against it with pressure. A very deep cut indeed, but certainly no decapitation. Later guys migrated to more of a smallsword, which many people think of as a rapier. (for instance "Pirates of the Carribean" was pretty much exclusively smallsword fighting -- not rapier!) Those were very light, very quick, and very flimsy. Think of trying to defend your life with a sharpened, modern epee. Early rapier strategy relied not on what we would consider "speed" but on economy of motion, which gave the illusion of speed. Cut out any superfluous motion, and you can get past his defenses faster. That's how the sword would be in your throat before you realized your opponent was even in range. Hope this helps.