What Age Should Someone Start Fencing?
At MAF, we begin offering private instruction to students at ages 6 & 7. At age 8 students are also eligible for our group classes. Fencing is not only beneficial to physical coordination but can also facilitate and strengthen the ability to focus and listen to instruction. That said, you can never be too old to start! Many students start in High School and can grow quickly to serious competitive fencers. USA fencing is one of the few sports that has a thriving veteran circuit as well and is great for people even 70+ years of age!
Is Fencing Safe?
Fencing is one of the safest modern competitive sports. Due to the rigorous safety standards required from equipment manufacturers by the United States Fencing Association (USFA) and the International Fencing Federation (FIE), fencers rarely sustain serious injuries. The most common injuries one can expect from fencing are an occasional bruise or scratch. In fact, fencing was determined by the US Olympic Committee to result in fewer injuries and be safer than badminton!
How should I dress for my first day?
Like you're going to the gym, so sneakers, a t-shirt, and athletic pants are optimal.
Which Fencing "weapons" do you offer instruction in?
If you are familiar with fencing already, you know that the sport has 3 different weapons, each with different rules, equipment, and competitors starting from the local and high school level all the way up to the Olympic games. The three weapons in fencing are Foil, Epee, and Saber. There is no one best weapon in fencing and the choice of weapon is primarily based on the individual fencer’s preference with input given by their coach. At Manchen many of our fencers have chosen foil and we start most fencers there, however, we have a growing epee program as well. We do not currently offer any Saber instruction.
How long does it take to get good at Fencing?
It would take multiple lifetimes to master the art and sport of fencing. By the time anyone has come close to “mastering” the sport, they are long past their athletic prime. While this may seem like a downside to the sport, most fencers see it as a great strength: fencing never becomes dull or routine and there are always new skills to master. Even if it feels daunting training and/or competing with fencers who have several more years of experience, everyone can be beaten with the correct strategy. After 3-6 months of private lessons and classes, fencers should consider competing in lower level local events. However, at this point, competing should be viewed as a learning aid, rather than a dedicated effort to win. After 2-3 years, fencers can begin actively competing to win. Once basic actions have been sufficiently mastered fencers can begin to focus more on strategy in their game. To achieve success at the highest levels of collegiate, regional, and national events, 3-5 years of experience and consistent training and competing 3-5 days a week is usually required. Progress may be faster or slower, depending on the fencer’s aptitude, dedication, quality of instruction and the age at which they begin.
What qualities make a great fencer?
Fencing is such an awesome sport! Almost any quality can be used to make a great fencer, it’s all about how you use and exploit these traits. Are you on the athletic side? Great you can you use your speed and dexterity to out-maneuver your opponent. Are you smart and a tactician? You can always trick and outsmart your opponent to victory. What about size? If you’re tall you can use your reach, if you are short you can use your speediness and having a smaller target to your advantage. Hands down, the most important quality a fencer needs to become great is a passion for the sport and a willingness to work with their coaches to bring their unique style to the fencing piste!
How much does it cost to get involved in Fencing?
To start all that is required is academy tuition and a USFA membership ($10). We provide all equipment for the first 6-months of training. Afterwards students will need to get themselves geared out; good starter sets cost around $300. Let us know if you need a recommendation for where to get equipment! How can I improve my technique without the help of a coach? It is very easy to acquire bad habits and poor technique without the guidance of a qualified and experienced fencing coach. If you are serious about improving your fencing, quality coaching is always your best investment.
Am I, or my child eligible for this tournament?
What is a classification (rating) and how can I earn it?
A classification or rating is fencing’s equivalent to the karate belt system with one big catch. Individual Fencing schools cannot just give students a rating, they must go out to sanctioned competitions and finish well enough to earn one! Just like karate belts start at white, fencers start with a “U” or “Unrated” rating. From there they progress from E to A (with A being the highest). Earning your first rating is very difficult, over 90% of people who try fencing never earn a rating. Any fencer wanting to earn a rating should expect to need at least 1.5 years of practice as well as getting comfortable competing regularly.