AGE GROUP BOYS AND GIRLS 4 to Adult
Fencing, which is the sport
of fighting with swords,
popular in Europe, but
is now gaining phenomenal popularity in the United
student is trained with techniques to complement their strengths and
supplement their weaknesses. It is a sport that is enjoyed by both
recreational and competitive fencers of all ages.
There are competitions for all ages and
three levels of
fencing are the
Foil, and Sabre,
which define the weapon used for defense and attack.
Youth fencing programs are designed
to develop discipline, coordination, reflexes, balance, strategic
thinking, and sportsmanship. Success in fencing is not based on
size, strength and speed alone, victory often goes to the smartest and
most determined fencer.
Types of classes and programs vary at
each club. Some coaches and clubs teach only one weapon,
while others offer all three. So you will need to do some research to find what
works for your family.
There are some clubs that have
programs where kids can join an intro-fencing
class, where plastic equipment is used for safety, as early as
four years old. At this age the focus is on basic
footwork, blade work and
hand-eye coordination exercises. Classes are meant to be fun and
children are taught using a variety of games.
At the age of 7
or 8 they move to a beginner's
class and start to use metal equipment. Generally, kids younger
do not have the fine motor skills to perform precise motions with a
foil, or the focus necessary to follow safety rules concerning weapons.
Beginners classes will teach your child the fundamentals of how to
At the intermediate level, around the
ages of 11 - 16, they will learn the rules, techniques, and terminology
of the sport of fencing. At the higher intermediate level more advanced students are introduced to offense and defense with the blade and
they begin to bout.
Based on skills and talent they can then move on to
advanced or competitive classes, where they are introduced to the epee
and saber. It is here that they begin to attend local and regional
competitions. The elite students compete on the national/international
Competition fencing age
There are five official age groups for kids and
juniors recognized by the US Fencing Association:
- Youth 10 (ages 6-10)
- Youth 12 (ages 9-12)
- Youth 14 (ages 11-14
- Cadet (under 17 for the season and under
16 for the Summer Nationals)
- Junior (under 20 for the season and
under 19 for the Summer Nationals)
The exact age range for each age group is
set based on the fencer's birth year. The age rules are published in the annual
competitors handbook of the US Fencing
Association and can be found on the
In general, fencers may compete in their
own age group and in the age group above
their age, unless they meet certain national
Fencers can compete at state and national
Junior Olympics championships (Cadet and
Junior fencers), in a circuit of age group
meets, and at the Summer Nationals.
is no correct time to start competing.
possible for some students to consider
training for at least six months, on a
regular basis, and they have some experience
with “electric” fencing. If this
criteria has been met, and the fencer has
the necessary competition gear than it comes
down to when the fencer feels ready.
They must be willing to win or lose since
that is part of competing.
However, serious attempts at competing are
generally possible after 2-3 years, when the
basic skills have been sufficiently mastered
and the fencer understands strategy.
To reach a proficient level of skill it can
take a few years of regular practice and
competition. The elite ranks, world
cup/international 'A' level, requires
extensive practice and competition, and
usually at least 5-10 years of experience.
What is the commitment level for fencing?
It is recommended that you start your
child in group lessons to allow them to learn the basics in a fun,
non-pressure environment. This is also the most cost effective way to
determine that fencing is something your child really wishes to pursue
on a long-term basis.
Some clubs will accept students at any
time while others only
accept new students at certain times each year.
It really depends on how they structure their programs.
Recreational classes usually run in sessions. Most clubs will do
sessions monthly or every six to eight weeks and require meeting twice
per week on a set schedule. Beginner,
intermediate and advanced
classes usually last
between 1 - 1. 5 hours.
As with any
sport whether you are a beginner fencer or a competitive fencer, you
need to practice and learn new skills in order to advance. Increasing
your fencing knowledge and techniques will help you to advance quickly
and this can only be accomplished by training. The more you attend
classes the quicker you will advance. Fencers that faithfully attend classes
twice a week, and
regularly compete against superior fencers will develop three to four times faster. As you advance
in fencing the training will increase. For instance, serious competitive fencers will
for fencing classes
Fencing is a relatively
inexpensive sport, until your child begins to travel to other states to
compete at the national level.
Each fencing program sets their
own rates and prices will vary by region and level of expertise of the
coach. You can, however, expect to pay between $80 - $125
per 6 -8 week session. You may have an additional cost for equipment rental
if you choose this option. It will run approximately $5 - $7 per
session or $15 - $20 on a monthly basis. In addition, some clubs have open fencing sessions
which will cost $10 -$20 per session if you go.
find however that most clubs have membership
programs which include
weekly group lessons, open fencing time, and may include private
lessons. Some places will
offer family memberships as well. Memberships can range from $50 to
$250 depending on the type.
Individual Instruction is for fencers who want to develop quickly and
advance to higher skill levels. The individual instruction develops the
refined movements, perceptions and strategies needed for success in
Individual lesson will run about $40 - $50 for 20 minutes, and $75 - $85
for 40 minutes.
It is a requirement for many fencing clubs that fencers be members of the United
States Fencing Association for insurance purposes and to compete in
local or national tournaments. Membership forms can be obtained at the
club and fees are approximately $60.
most other sports the costs of competing can easily outweigh club
membership and equipment costs. You have to take into
consideration that you will have to pay for travel, accommodations and
entry fees for each event and coaches fees.
There are local, regional, and
national tournaments, all with competition divided into age groups,
starting with age 10 and under. Participation varies with each fencer.
While some fencers go to the United States Fencing Association's (USFA)
Summer Nationals, a multi-day tournament with hundreds of fencers,
others only compete locally. There are numerous competitions locally for
all fencers from beginner to Olympian to compete.
A tournament is comprised of several events. Local
tournament fees average $20.00 per event while National tournaments can
cost $45 and up per event.
Plan on spending a great deal of time at
a competition. Fencing events generally take all day.
For more details on competitions see
All Star Activities
When to Start Competing Page.