Ace Fencing Academy

Frequently Asked Questions


What is fencing?

Fencing is a hybrid of martial art and sport that has been practiced for millennia, initially as preparation for battle or the duel of honor. Around the turn of the 20th century, it evolved into what it is today, a fast-paced athletic and tactical challenge. Fencing may be the closest of all sports to a video game, from the timing and tactics required, to the bright lights on the scoring machine when a fencer lands a hit. But no matter how modern and dynamic, fencing will always retain some of the honor and tradition of its martial heritage.

Do I need prior experience to fence at Ace?

Absolutely not! We have fencers of all skill levels, from beginner to nationally-ranked, at our club. We also offer classes and lessons specially tailored for people with no prior experience. Everyone has to start somewhere, and teammates remember when they were in your shoes. We're proud of the welcoming environment our club members provide for beginners.

Do I need gear to come fence at Ace? What should I wear for my first class or lesson?

Ace provides gear for the Beginning and Intermediate classes. You should wear loose-fitting workout clothes for classes and lessons: sweatpants, t-shirt, sneakers. We have rentals available for private lessons and open bouting. After trying the sport for a few sessions, you will want to invest in your own spiffy gear that you can show off proudly to your teammates. It is more cost effective in the long run than renting. A full set of equipment that you can use for lessons, bouting, and competitions runs about $200, and will last a long time.

Is fencing safe? Does it hurt?

Statistically, fencing is one of the safest sports there is. When proper gear is worn at all times, it is extremely safe and doesn't hurt at all. Can you be injured fencing? Of course, just like any sport. Twisted ankles and the occasional bruise are pretty rare, and as bad as it usually gets. The weapons we use are not sharp and are specially designed to be flexible. 

What are some of the terms I hear when people talk about fencing?

En garde - The basic position from which both fencers jockey for position and try to score on their opponent.

Bout - A fencing match. Bouts are first to 5, 10, or 15 touches depending on the age group and round of the competition.

Salute - A show of respect and sportsmanship between fencers before and after every bout or lesson. Similar in purpose to the bow in Asian martial arts.

Lunge - One method of delivering a hit to an opponent. There are other ways as well.

Touch (touche' in old movies) - When a fencer scores on the opponent we call it a "touch." Perhaps this is because it sounds friendlier than skewer, poke, or hit.

Epee/Foil/Saber - The three weapon disciplines of fencing. Each has different rules, traditions, valid target areas, and uses slightly different gear. Most fencers specialize their training in one of the three weapons. 

Electric Fencing - Modern fencing is practiced with both athletes hooked up to scoring machines via bungie reels. When a fencer scores, their light and buzzer go on so there is never any doubt as to who scored.

Am I too old to start fencing?

It's never too late to start. Fencing is a great physical workout, but is unique among sports in the degree to which tactics play a role in the outcome of matches. It's not uncommon for a clever veteran fencer to outwit a much younger and faster opponent. At the same time, simply practicing fencing on a regular basis is great for developing coordination, strength, balance, flexibility and endurance at any age.

Am I too young to start fencing?

Maybe. There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, since much depends on the individual student's maturity and physical development. Young athletes must be strong enough to lift a sword (they are lighter than they look), and focused enough to make it through a lesson or class. Fencing is fantastic for childhood development of strength, balance, coordination, patience, sportsmanship, focus and critical thinking. As a general rule, we recommend starting at around 6 or 7 years old, but some students begin as early as 3. 

Can fencing get me into college?

Yes and no. While many top universities have varsity or club teams, and fencing scholarships are available, using fencing as a means to get into college should be low on your priority list. Why is that? Top schools look for students who are successful at and passionate about what they do. It takes many hours of training to become proficient at any activity, including fencing. If you love to fence because it is fun, engaging and great exercise for mind and body--and if you do a lot of it--you will give yourself the best chance at success. College programs will begin to take notice.

Ok, I know how to fence, now what?

There are many great reasons to fence. Recreationally, it is a challenging and absorbing way to stay mentally and physically active for people of all ages. For those interested, there are competitions in different age groups, from Youth-8 all the way up to Veteran-80, and everything in between. These range from local tournaments, up to NCAA Collegiate, national events, World Cups and even the Olympic Games.  The founder of the modern Olympic Games was a fencer, and it is one of a handful of sports to be contested at every modern Olympics. While fencing is largely an individual sport, it is a great way to meet new people and make fun memories with teammates or others who share a passion for the game.