Fencing 101

Can it take a private lesson or are there only group lessons?

  • NIFC, as a club, only gives group beginner lessons.  NIFC typically offers 3 Beginning Saber Classes per year.  Each class is 8 weeks long.  We occasionally will offer a multi-week Beginning Epee or Beginning Foil Class.  
  • Group beginner classes are open to non-members and an easy, low cost way to find out if fencing is something that will be of interest to you, either for competition or for recreation.  
  • NIFC also offers "advanced beginner" classes, which are only available to NIFC club members.  These are repetitive drills classes and used to reinforce the basic skils taught in the beginner classes.  These classes are scheduled to follow the completion of our beginner classes.
  • Some coaches will provide private lessons and we do schedule in some higher level coaches from other clubs for private and semi-private lessons.  For these types of lessons the student will pay the coach's fee per lesson and the club is not involved in that transaction nor does the club receieve any portion of that payment.  Generally speaking these are geared for competitive fencers who regularly go to local, regional, high school or national competitions outside of our club.

Why don't we accept students under the age of 10

Due to the complexity of the rules, the complexity of the strategy, and the athleticism required by the sport, we have simply had no luck in teaching students younger than age 10.  Other clubs, with paid coaches, who have more frequent training schedules and the ability to work one-on-one with yournger studetns may have better outcomes with younger students.  Our group class enviornment, with rotating volunteer coaches, does not permit us to devote the time or attention to a young student that is required.  Therefore we do not allow students younger than 10 years old. 

3 Weapons???

The sport of Fencing has been compared to many things, the most popular is "Physical Chess" as the sport requires precise thought and decision making while being active and executing controlled movements. As a sport, fencing develops balance, muscle control, reflexes and critical thinking. Competitors analyze their opponents and then defeat them using the appropriate techniques. While Epee is somewhat like a cross between a chess match and ballet, Saber is more like a cross between Monday Night Football and chess. Each type of fencing has its own characteristics and there is a style of fencing that will be suitable for you.

How much does it cost to fence?

Just like with any sport, there are many costs, but we work to keep costs very low.

Our dues at NIFC are $150 per year.  A $10 non-competitive membership with USA Fencing is also required.

The club has, and lends out to our members all the basic equipment needed for a fencer to get started.  

We do recommend that, for hygeine purposes, people eventually buy a mask, a jacket and a glove.  Those are the 3 most basic pieces of a uniform, costs vary and some brands are more expensive, but all 3 of those items can be purchased for under $200.  We work with members and often help faciliate purchases.

How safe is fencing?

Fencing is very safe.  We do our best to take safety very seriously.  

Fencing equipment is designed to keep fencers safe but there are policies that fencers must also follow.  Generailly if someone is injured it is due to human error and horseplay.  Consequently we do not allow horseplay in the club.

Common fencing injuries include the occasional 'rolled ankle' which is due to a fencer practicing poor footworks skills.  Sometimes a fencer's off hand will be hit by a weapon, again this is fencer error as the off hand must be kept out of target area, injuries usually include a bruise or minor cut but can occasionally be more serious.

Fencing is considered a very safe sport and we hope to keep it that way.