Where to Fence - Finding a Fencing Club
Where to Fence
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Sport - Fencing
Where to Fence - Finding a Fencing Club
One good news if you’re looking where to fence is that there’s likely to be a fencing club near you. In the United States alone, there are 751 fencing clubs in 50 states ready to accept students wanting to learn fencing. California has 90, New York 63, Texas 53 Pennsylvania 41, New Jersey 40, and even West Virginia has one. For a complete list, you might want to visit www.fencing.net. If what you need is simply to have lessons while remaining a non-member, know that there are clubs who’ll accept you. If you can negotiate a flight of stairs with no difficulty, most clubs will take you in. Age isn’t even an issue. Although most who enroll are in their 20s, there are students in their 30s, 40s, and 50s. Some clubs even have members as young as six or as blooming as seventy-one.
What To Look For in a Fencing Club
Location is important, although it might not be as important as the availability of classes in your skill level, or the quality of instruction for that matter. Fencing is not only a sport of skill, it’s also a sport of grace. Remember that fencing started as a sport of European nobility as far back as the 14th century, demanding from its enthusiasts not only a high degree of technical skill, but also a delicacy and refinement -- grace in defeat, magnanimity in victory.
As such, fencing has a rich and proud history which the fencing student carries with him everywhere he goes, especially if he’s carrying his fencing bag and gear, demanding from him high standards of dealing with others with a delicacy and refinement not normally found in other sports. It’s not a requirement, but an appreciation of the sport’s rich history will greatly enhance its enjoyment, and the building of one’s character besides.
That’s why it’s good to choose the fencing club with care. It’s sufficient to have a highly competent fencer for instructor; but it’ll be a huge bonus if a club’s fencing master has been trained in the traditional French school, for instance. Consider yourself very lucky if the fencing club you’re considering joining has a master who interacts well with his students and has good humor besides,
Most clubs have classes on different levels, and would want to find out first your skill level especially if you’ve fenced before, so you need never worry about being included among more skilled fencers. Enrollees are normally grouped into age brackets, for instance, 8-11, 12-14, 15-adult, and skill levels within each age bracket are set, for instance, basic, intermediate, and advanced. Each club will have its own schedule, although a typical schedule could be one hour sessions twice a week for between five and seven weeks.
Basic courses for beginners usually take up the On Guard position, simple attacks and parries, the lunge, the fleche, footwork, rules, maybe a bit of history, and, of course, fencing jargon, populated by many French words you’ll be meeting for the first time. Some clubs offer private lessons. During summer, some have fencing clinics which may consist of warm-up games on the strip, footwork lessons, blade drills, and sparring.
Fees, of course, vary, and might vary widely, but, to give you an idea of the cost, know that the Boston Fencing Club charges $185 for seven weeks of instructional classes of two sessions per week of an our each, slightly higher for more advanced classes. For pre-competitive classes of an hour and a half each twice weekly, the rate is $275. The fees include the use of equipment.
Equipment and Facilities
Students are expected to attend their classes in athletic attire: sneakers (never sandals), sweat pants, and a T-shirt. The club usually provides the equipment, although there’s no stopping any member who likes to have his own, which, in fact, many do. The beginner will, therefore, want to check on a potential club’s inventory of weapons, scorer sets, masks, jackets, classrooms, strips, among others to make sure there’s enough clean and well-maintained safety equipment for everyone.
You’d also want to know how many will you be in a class. You’d normally not want to be in a class bigger than 18 students.
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