FAQs - Olympia Fencing Center


Do I have sign a contract to fence at Olympia?

No. Olympia Fencing Center doesn’t ask for commitment, the only commitment you have to do is with yourself – you decide how serious you want to be about fencing, if to compete or not, if to fence on regular basis or just recreational.

We offer a “Members only” option ($80.00/month) and it entitles you to fence in open fencing and sign up for private lessons. This option doesn’t include participation in any fencing classes.

What should I wear to fencing practice?

  • Shoes – please bring a pair of laced sneakers with clean soles that are not worn in the street, not even from the car to the building.

Our fencing floor is raised from the ground, custom build on foam blocks  for shock absorption. For the safety of our students, our metallic strips need to be kept  free from dirt, dust, water.

Indoor sport (tennis) or running shoes work best for fencing. Make sure they fit well and have good traction and side stability.

    No: lace free/velcro fastened shoes, outdoor walking or climbing shoes.

  • Pants: long, loose-fitting sweat pants only.

No: cargo pants, jeans, tight-fitting or low-rise pants.

  • T-shirt: long enough to be tucked into the pants, for safety reasons.
  • Water bottle: there is a water cooler available for refills on the floor.


  • An extra t-shirt to change after practice, you’ll very likely to sweat, even with the AC on, fencing involves a lot of moving and you’ll be wearing layered fencing gear on top (chest plate, underarm protector, foil fencers wear a lame vest).
  • Hair tie to pull your hair back under the fencing mask.

All club members have to sign the Code of Conduct and follow the club rules as well as the dress code.

 What is the USFA?

The United States Fencing Association is the national governing body of fencing in the United States.

Why do I need to join the USFA?

Becoming a USFA member is required for membership at most of the clubs, including Olympia Fencing Center.

Members of the USFA receive insurance during fencing practice/competitions, as well as the quarterly American Fencing Magazine.

USFA membership is also required to compete at USFA competitions.

Click here for more information about USFA membership cost and types.

Do I have to compete?

No. Although competitions are an important part of fencing and it is strongly suggested to  everyone, if competition is not your thing, it’s just fine – many fencers just fence recreationally at their clubs, for health reasons or just for fun!

Does fencing hurt?

No one gets seriously injured while fencing. Sometimes you might get poked a bit harder than you’d want and that can leave a bruise. Usually the pain from being hit is the last thing people are concerned with as they are more focused on the fun or the challenge of fencing. The protective equipment does work quite well.

According to the American Magazine of Sports Medicine, a study of injuries occurring in Olympic competition ranks fencing as having one of the lowest injury rates, making it one of the safest Olympic sports.

I’m not exactly athletic. Can I still fence?

What makes fencing different than other sports  is the fact that anyone can fence.

Young or older, fencing can be started at any age and at any body shape. Even people in wheelchair can fence –  there are wheelchair fencing championships, just like the regular fencing.

Some people take up fencing because they don’t like running on the elliptical for long hours, while fencing keeps you on the move, without even noticing. We had lots of children and adults that lost considerable amounts of weight, some without even trying!

Fencing builds up muscle, makes you more flexible, faster, smarter.

Foil,épée, saber… Which one is for me?

 This is one of the most interesting topics in fencing. Some people fence only one weapon while others fence two or all three. The odd thing is the weapon usually chooses the person, instead of the other way around. Each of the three weapons has its own particular personality and to some extent favored body type.

Which one is the best?

 If you ask a foilist they will say, “foil”, a saber fencer will say, “saber”, the epee fencer will say “épée”…

“Sabre is Theatre. Foil is Art. Épée is Truth.”

(attributed to Al Peters, fencing coach at Cornell Univesity)

Where can I purchase equipment?

At Olympia, you tell us what you need and we set up the order for you: this because we have the experience behind and dressed up hundreds of fencers before you. Everyone is built differently, some have longer legs, other broader shoulders – we measure you up and try to find your best fit.

If you want to do it yourself, there are many companies that you can purchase equipment from online or over the phone. If you are looking for a specific item, you can shop around for it at various places to find the best price.

 Blue Gauntlet and Absolute Fencing Gear are our favorite equipment stores. They offer a wide variety of starter sets that range from about $100 to about $200, depending on the number of pieces of equipment and quality.

However, since everybody’s different, at Olympia we prefer to measure and size you up – the equipment can then be purchased on your own or you can order it through us.

What equipment do I need for competition?

To compete, you will first need to be a competitive member of the USFA.

This is a link directly to the official USFA website, where you can get your membership. If you need assistance, we can always walk you through the process, on one of the club’s computers.

All three weapons (foil, épée, saber) use :

Knickers/fencing pants, jacket, plastron/underarm protector, appropriate mask, glove, long socks, sneakers or fencing shoes. For your better protection, chest plate, for women and a cup, for men, are needed.

As for weapons, at least two working electrical weapons and two body cords are required.  A fencing bag is also a must-have, to keep your belongings in a place.

You’ll get used fast with all these, we’ll always be available for more questions, ideas, advice.