Novice’s Guide To Competitive Fencing

How to start competing

Fencing competition is available generally for all age groups, and one can start competitions at any time, with little or some fencing experience.
We recommend starting competing sooner rather than later, even if you believe it’s too early and you’re not ready.
Competitive experience changes a fencer’s perspective on the sport and gives them an edge and desire to practice more and improve.

During your fencing events, you’ll have the chance to meet fencers from different clubs, and all over the country, make friends, and learn their different fencing styles and personalities. You will also discover your competitive side, and learn what works for you to stay calm and focused during competition.

Before starting the competition, we recommend taking the least one private lesson a week, to raise the chances of starting your competitive career successfully and more confidently.

First step: upgrade your USFA membership to “competitive” by logging into your account or calling: 719-866-4511.
Secondly: buy your own fencing gear.
Third: learn about strip coaching and the importance of having a coach with you at every fencing event.


Follow this link to get access to a printable list of the Competitions Suggestions for 2022 (épée only), and here are the qualification paths for the 2022 Summer Nationals and July Challenge, by age groups.

 

2021-2022 Age Eligibility for Events
(determined by birth years)

Y8: 2013-2015
Y10: 2011-2014
Y12: 2009-2012
Y14: 2007-2010
Cadet: 2005-2008
Junior: 2002-2008
Senior Open/Division I/Division IA/Division II/ Division III: 2008 or earlier

See here the exceptions details.

Youth Tournaments

All information is taken from USFA website and the 2021-2022 Athlete Handbook. Please reference the handbook for more information.
Use this link for the tournament browser.


For novice fencers of ages 6-13, a great way to start competing is Olympia Fencing Center’s: D’ARTAGNAN CHALLENGE SERIES

The D’Artagnan Challenge Series is a series of in-house competitions held at Olympia designed for children ages 14 & under. It falls into the category of “Local Tournament”.
All events at Olympia are currently “unsanctioned,” meaning no ratings or USFA-related points (see appendix for more information on how classifications work in fencing) are rewarded.
Medals/ribbons are awarded for the top 8 at each event, and a rolling point system is set up for the series. At the end of the season, one boy and one girl in each age group will receive the series trophy.

Different events are held for each age group (listed below) throughout the year. Five events throughout the course of the school year will take place for each age group.
Events: Y8, Y10, Y12, Y14
Registration: via askFred.net
At least non-competitive USFA membership is required.
Here is how to prepare for this event:

  • Register via askfred.net: find the event you plan to attend, click on registration and, if this is your first competition, please create a fencer record.
  • Here is a tournament checklist with the things you need.
    Note that D’Artagnan doesn’t require USFA competitive membership, or to own a weapon. We will provide the weapons (for the club members only).
    All fencers from other clubs must bring proof of age, their own weapon (two are recommended), and body cords.
  • Show at the door at least fifteen minutes before the event and check in at the office.
  • Our coaches will explain the rules of the competition.
    Good Luck!

REGIONAL YOUTH CIRCUIT (RYC)

Description:
Regional Youth Circuit (RYC): The RYC tournaments are held throughout the season, similar to the Super Youth Circuit tournaments. These competitions are one of the possible qualification paths for Youth 10 and Youth 12 events at both the March NAC and the Y10, Y12 and Y14 USA Fencing National Championships. Only regional points are awarded at RYC’s.

Events:
Y10, Y12, Y14
Format: 2 rounds: 1 round of pools where fencers fence each person in their pool to 5 touches, and 1 round of direct elimination (DE) where fencers fence to either 10 points (Y10) or 15 (Y12 & Y14). All participants are promoted to the DE’s after pools.
Search for tournaments and registration: click here, on the USFA.org 
Competitive USFA Membership is required.

Points: there are no national points awarded at Regional Youth competitions. Regional points are awarded based on the final placement and size of the competitive field. Points are awarded to all participants. The winner of each event at an RYC automatically earns 100 points. At least two fencers must be present in the competition to earn points.

Point formula: (# entries – place + 1) /# entries) x 100 points
A fencer’s best 3 results will determine the fencer’s point total.

*We are Region 3 – Olympia fencers can compete in any RYC but will only be awarded qualifying points for Region 3 RYC’s.

Fencing Divisions

 

For those not familiar with regional youth events, USA Fencing has divided the nation into six geographic regions, as pictured in the image below.
New Englanders are part of Region III.

 

 

SUPER YOUTH CIRCUIT (SYC)

Description: these competitions are one of the possible qualification paths for Youth 10 and Youth 12 events at both the March and/or USA Fencing National Championships. National points are awarded at SYC’s.

Events: Y10, Y12, Y14

Format: 2 rounds: 1 round of pools where fencers fence each person in their pool to 5 touches, and 1 round of direct elimination (DE) where fencers fence to either 10 points (Y10) or 15 (Y12 & Y14). All participants are promoted to the DE’s after pools.

Registration: via USFA.org. Competitive USFA Membership is required.

Points: SYC competitions will award points to the top 40% of the competitive field (rounded up to the next higher integer) to a maximum of 64th place. In all SYC Youth events, 3 fencers must compete in order for points to be awarded.

Fencers may participate in one or more Super Youth tournaments, however, only the competition where the fencer earns the most points (1 best result) will be included in the revised national point standings published after the latest SYC.

NORTH AMERICAN CUP (NAC)

Description:  these Youth National Tournaments provide a higher-level experience for fencers 10 and under (Y10), 12 and under (Y12) and 14 and under (Y14). National points may be awarded in these competitions. Qualification is necessary for Y10/Y12 events at March NAC (see qualification paths, below).

Listed below are NAC’s containing youth events. Please refer to the full NAC schedule on USFA for information regarding other NAC’s.

November NAC: Junior, Cadet, and Y14
March NAC: Y10/Y12/Y14/Division III/Y14 Team

Qualification Paths
For Y10/Y12 events at March NAC only: Fencers must fence in at least one Y10 and/or Y12 Regional Youth Circuit (RYC) OR Super Youth Competition (SYC) in the United States in the current season to be eligible to enter the same category and weapon at the March NAC OR fencers must be on the Y10 or Y12 National Point Standings by the regular entry fee deadline. An RYC event must have at least 2 competitors to fulfill any qualification standards.

Note: Birth-year eligibility is necessary for all events.

Format: 2 rounds: 1 round of pools where fencers fence each person in their pool to 5 touches, and 1 round of direct elimination (DE) where fencers fence to either 10 points (Y10) or 15 (Y12 & Y14). All participants are promoted to the DE’s after pools for all youth events. 80% are promoted to DE’s in Junior/Cadet/Division III events.

Registration: via USFA.org
Competitive USFA Membership is required.

Points: for Youth, Cadet, Junior, and Senior National point competitions (NACs, JOs, July Challenge, and National Championships), points will be awarded to the direct elimination table in which the top 32 (to a maximum of 40 percent) of the competitive field falls (rounded to the next lower integer) to a maximum of 64th place. If the top 32 cut-off falls within a pool round, the points will be awarded starting with the direct elimination round.

In the case of a tie, the points are averaged for each place involved (e.g., 3 tied for 25th receive the average of points for 25th, 26th, and 27th place). If a fencer is excluded from the competition, that place is left vacant and no one receives the points for that place.

NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS

Description: similar to NAC, but held only once a year during Summer Nationals. Qualification for all events is needed. National points may be awarded in this competition.

Note: Birth-year eligibility is necessary for all events. Athletes must be US Citizens or Permanent Residents to compete in the National Championship

Events: Y10, Y12, Y14

Qualification Paths:

Youth 10 National Championships

  • Be on the Y10 National Point Standings at the regular fee entry deadline OR
  • Be on the Y10 Regional Youth Point Standings in your region at the regular fee entry deadline OR
  • Earn at least 60 Y12 Regional Points during the current season (Total points = an athlete’s top 3 point results)

Youth 12 National Championships

  • Be on the Y12 National Point Standings at the regular fee entry deadline OR
  • Earn at least 70 Y12 Regional Points during the current season (Total points = an athlete’s top 3 point results)OR
  • Earn at least 150 Y14 Regional Points during the current season (Total points = an athlete’s top 3 point results)OR
  • Place in the top 25% of the fencer’s division’s Y14 National Championship qualifying competition

Youth 14 National Championships

  • Be on the Youth 14 National Point Standings at the regular entry fee deadline OR
  • Earn at least 150 Y14 Regional Points during the current season (Total points = an athlete’s top 3 point results)OR
  • Place in the top 25% (round up) of the fencer’s division’s Y14 National Championship qualifying competition

Format: 2 rounds: 1 round of pools where fencers fence each person in their pool to 5 touches, and 1 round of direct elimination (DE) where fencers fence to either 10 points (Y10) or 15 (Y12 & Y14). All participants are promoted to the DE’s after pools.

Registration: via USFA.org.
Competitive USFA Membership is required.

Points: see the Points section of NAC.

See the USFA Classification Chart for competition rating here.

Note: Please remember that the USFA, the national governing body of the sport of fencing, may change these rules at times; if you subscribe to their notifications, you’ll stay updated on any changes.

We highly recommend a very useful tool for parents and to all those new to fencing: the Academy of Fencing Masters blog and their Parents Guide to Fencing e-book.

Other tools:

Here is a Fencing Tournament Checklist with what you need in a competition, and this is a comprehensive guide on how to care for your fencing gear: from weapon and body cords, to cleaning your mask, glove, and bodysuit.

And don’t forget, any parent can email us with any questions, at any time: info@olympiafencingcenter.com
competitions@olympiafencingcenter.com

Good Luck!!