At LAIFC, we have an impressive history of producing highly successful competitive fencers. Our students have competed as members of National fencing teams representing the USA at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, the 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2010 Junior and Cadet World Championships. They have been awarded numerous medals at National and International Fencing events and championships.
Competitive Fencing 101
When should someone begin competing?
It is best to start competitions when you feel you are ready to take the competition seriously. You should have a good understanding of the footwork, distance, simple attacks, and parries. There are competitions for novices and advanced fencers of all ages. If you are interested in competing speak to your coach.
What is required for Competitions?
1. USFA membership: This gives you the opportunity to participate in tournaments around the US and provides you with insurance in the unlikely case anything happens during practice. To visit the USFA website click here
2. You will need a full set of electric equipment and we would recommend at least one back-up weapon. Please ask your coach for further details.
What are Classifications?
Fencers are classified nationally on the basis of competitive experience and achievement into the following classifications: A (highest), B, C, D, E, U (Unclassified, lowest). Classifications are written as A10, B09, B10. The letter indicating the classification and the number indicating the latest year when that classification was earned or re-earned. The purpose of the classifications is to distinguishing between levels of performance and provide an objective scale for the seeding of tournaments.
How are Classifications Earned?
Classifications are earned by competing in USFA rated competitions. The rating of a competition determines which classifications are awarded, and the number for each type Changes in classifications are allowed at USFA sanctioned individual competition restricted to Veterans and to Junior fencers. Division, Section and Regional Youth and Cadet competitions must meet or exceed criteria for C1 to award changes in classification. Classifications may be awarded only at tournaments at which electrical apparatus for the scoring of touches (i.e., does not require conductive strips) is used. The classification of a fencer in one weapon has no effect on his/her classification in another weapon and is not affected by his/her winning or competing in individual three-weapon competitions, invitational meets, intercollegiate competitions, or unofficial club and inter-club competitions.
How a Competition Works
Fencing tournaments vary in format, and include individual and team competitions. A tournament may include all three weapons, both individual and team, or as in an Épée Challenge, individual épée only. Men and women compete separately in high-level tournaments. Mixed-gender tournaments are commonplace at lower levels, especially those held by individual fencing clubs. An individual event consists of two parts: pools and direct eliminations. Each fencer is assigned to a pool, typically with 6 others. Every fencer fences everyone else in the pool. If the number of fencers competing is not a multiple of seven, one or more pools adjust to six or eight members. After the pools are finished, the fencers are given a ranking, or “seed,” versus other fencers in the tournament, based primarily on their winning percentage, and secondarily on the difference between touches made and received. Once seeding completes, direct elimination starts. Fencers are sorted in a table. High seeds typically receive a bye, while lower seeded players fight for the right to compete against them. For example, if a tournament has 31 entrants, the fighters compete in pools of 7, 8, 8 and 8. The top player gets a bye in the first round, while the other players compete. After the first round, the 15 winners advance and the top seed joins the fray. Typically the losers of the semi-final round both finish “third”.
Team competition involves teams of three fencers. A fourth fencer acts as an alternate, but only one substitution is allowed. The modern team competition is similar to the pool round of the individual competition. Each fencer plays each member of the opposing team, totaling nine matches. Matches are three minutes long, or to 5 points. Points carry into the next bout, thus making it a forty-five touch bout fought by six fencers. Unlike individual tournaments, team tournaments almost always fence for third.
Where Can I Register?
All events may be found on www.askfred.net.