FAQs

Q: How safe is fencing?
Parents: Statistics show that fencing  is an exceptionally safe sport with an injury rate on par with table tennis.  It’s far safer than baseball, soccer, or cheerleading.

Fencers: SWORD FIGHTING-what can I say?

Q: What are the ‘weapons’ used?
A:The sport fencing ‘weapons’ work like springs to absorb the shock of impact – they are not sharp but the springiness is critical.

Foil is a thrusting weapon. To score a touch (point) one must hit with the tip of the foil against the opponent’s valid target area with 500 grams of force. The valid target area for foil is the torso, excluding the head and arms. Foil uses the ‘right-of-way’ rule to ensure that a move that would be suicidal in a real duel is not rewarded. A defender must respect an attack and evade or defend before striking back.

Epee is a thrusting weapon. To score a touch one must hit with the tip of the epee anywhere on the opponent’s body. Epee does not enforce’ right of way’ and a point can be awarded to both fencers should they both hit at the same time, which is say they can both lose at the same time in some circumstances.

Sabre is a slashing weapon. To score a touch one must hit with any part of the blade against the opponents valid target area. The valid target area for saber is from the waist up including the head, arms, and hand. Sabre uses the ‘right-of-way’ rule to ensure that a move that would be suicidal in a real duel is not rewarded. A defender must respect an attack and evade or defend before striking back.

Youtube has some interesting informative stuff. this folksy bit has a 2-time
gold medalist explaining some sabre basics
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hza3EUTFIOY

There are several fencing books available, two with a youth focus are:
http://sfyouthfencing.com/Book_Reviews.html

I like this first one much, even if its a bit long winded at times.
http://www.amazon.com/Youth-Fencing-Drills-Strategies-Handbook/dp/098209602X

Q: Why do some kids use foam swords?

A: We teach young kids sabre because the motion is larger and easier to understand.  We always use the steel swords as much as possible, but the foam swords are light and safe, yet offer realistic training – anyway footwork is the most important part of the lesson for a beginner. One nice safe aspect is there is less chance of accidental injury before and after class – when kids are acting as kids do.

Q: The emphasis on your web page is all on kids, do you take adults?

Yes! Please! it just happens that us club founders are parents of Middle and Elementary school students. We are adults too, and we love to fence.  Please!

Q: Do I have to join the Arlington Fencing Club to take classes?

Class enrollment includes a temporary club membership.

Q: At what age can you begin fencing?

The best age to learn most any sport, including fencing,  is young – seven to ten is good!

Q: How many years of practice does it take to become a World Champion in fencing?

Coach Becca started at age nine.  At age 12 she entered an adult North American Cup event -The sort of event that has past and future Olympic team members travel from across the country to earn points for a slot on the national team.  Becca won. Four years later at age 16, she won the Cadet world championship, a month later the Junior world championship, and  a few weeks after that the Senior world championship.  So it appears to take about 6-7 years.  Your results may differ.

Q: Am I too old to start fencing?

Fencing can be learned at almost any age, as long as you are reasonably fit.  Students over the age of 30 have to take extra special care to warm-up and stretch properly, and should customize their training to build strength carefully and systematically.

Q: What should I wear?

Fencing is an athletic activity, and athletic attire is needed. Participants should wear sneakers or similar shoes, sweat pants or warm-up pants, and a t-shirt.  No shorts, no sandals.

Q: Do I have to buy any equipment?

We will provide the equipment needed for the beginners class.  After the first two classes, Fencing 1 & 2, are completed you will need to purchase a uniform, and after 9 months electrical equipment.

Q: When do I buy my own kit?

At the beginning of Fencing 2,  a practice weapon is included in your class fee.

At the end of Fencing 2, purchase your uniform, including mask, jacket, underarm protector, chest protector and pants (for epee).

After 9 months, electric weapon, lame (foil & saber), body cords, mask cords, and pants (foil & saber).

Middle and high school club fencers after one year you should have a complete uniform and electrical gear.

Q: Do I have to join the US Fencing Association?

We require USFA non-competitive memberships and also competitive memberships for advanced students in our competition program, for insurance reasons, and to be eligible to compete in USFA competitions (we host some ourselves).

Q: When can I start competition?

We regularly hold in-house competitions to introduce our students to competitive fencing.  Students usually take classes for about a year before considering outside competition. Age, skill level, and competitive experience in another sport will influence the decision about when to start competing.

Q: What about private lessons?

Individual lessons are available for those seeking additional instruction, and those whose special needs preclude taking one of our group classes.  Together with classes, and competing, private lessons help to advance individual fencers.

To schedule a lesson, ask your coach.