Starting fencing

What is it like?

Fencing is a sport based on the ancient art of sword-fighting. The aim is to hit your opponent whilst not being hit yourself - fencing is the art of defence.  Since both fencers usually have a similar training, there is as much thinking as doing.  Several people have described fencing as "physical chess".

A fencing fight finishes when one opponent scores an agreed number of hits (or after a certain time has elapsed).  Competitions are usually structured in several rounds of "poules" where you fight a number of other fencers - but you only fence one individual at a time.  After these rounds, the fencers' scores are ranked and the final positions are fought for by "direct elimination". Where if you win a fight you progress; if you lose you are out.  (Several competitions run secondary events for those who are "out" early.)

Do you actually use swords?

Yes we use swords - they are made of steel; but we always wear special protective equipment when fencing. Fencing is one of the safest of sports and, provided the correct equipment is used, even minor injuries are uncommon.

Younger fencers can start with plastic swords which are lighter to use.  Scottish Fencing run several Ready-Steady-Fence courses to encourage adults to provide a safe learning experiance for younger fencers.

What do I need?

You need to wear loose fitting clothing (not shorts, but tracksuit bottoms or similar are fine) - you will probably want a change of clothing and the gym has showers available.  Bring some indoor sports shoes, ie ones with non-marking soles.  There water available at the gym but you should bring a drinks container.

What about equipment?

The club has all the specialist equipment needed for beginners.  This includes swords, masks and protective clothing (in a range of sizes).  We also have the additional equipment needed for fencing with electric scoring kit.  The cost of borrowing this equipment is included in your nightly fees.

Do I need to be fit?

You don't need to be especially fit to start fencing - but a general level of fitness and stamina will be an advantage.  As you progress in training you will find various different muscle groups are improved by fencing.  

Are there any age limits?

Children can start fencing from about 6 years old, however our club does have equipment for such small fencers.  However there are other clubs in Scotland who run special classes for young fencers.

As an adult orientated club we are happy to accept young teenagers - and we have various sizes of equipment which should fit most people. Please note that we are unable to provide supervision outside the training session, and children under 13 must be supervised during training by a parent or guardian.

There are many competitions for young fencers with catergories based on age.  Adult competitions are limited to fencers over the age of 13.

There are no upper age limits on fencing.  Once you have reached the ripe old age of 40, you are considered a "veteran" in fencing, although there are several age bands above that.

Disabled fencing

The British Disability Fencing Association (BDFA) is the National Governing Body for disability fencing. The BDFA manages GBR Wheelchair Fencing, which is a Paralympic Sport.  Our club does not have any equipment to support wheelchair fencing but we are happy to discuss with any individual who may have specialist needs to start fencing.