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Anyone start a fencing club?


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Does anyone have experience starting a youth fencing club? My boys have been interested for years, but we have no resources. Lately they've taken to playing outside with their Nerf swords. Any ideas or suggestions would be appreciated. I think this might be a good project for my son to take on.

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I happened upon a Fencing school in the mall once. That was my first and last encounter with fencing. Maybe you should check your mall, library, community center, homeschool group and local K-8 schools to see if anyone has any leads within your community. Also check with drama/theater people because apparently random skills are highly prized in the theater world...

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I have a friend whose son began fencing in middle school and does it seriously, as a rated player in U.S. Fencing Association competitions. It is an expensive sport, because of private lessons, club memberships, equipment.

 

But I have heard that many fencers want to recruit new participants. I have had no trouble arranging lessons with great teachers for scout groups, and our local Girl Scout council offers fencing, as do some local schools. All these introductory classes use foam swords, but it can still be challenging when done with correct form and fencing rules.

 

Good luck!

 

ETA I almost forgot. I did fencing in college. That was so long ago!

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Thanks. Part of our problem, we don't live in the US. I do think we should be able to find someone who can help us out here. Good to hear about foam swords, that's promising--cheaper at any rate.

Oops, my mistake. There is a wiki article on the Federation Internationale d'Escrime, which links to info about various national federations. It might be a good place to start, because, even with foam, you probably want an instructor who can teach proper form.

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My son is a competitive fencer and has fenced at clubs in several states, as well as at national competitions. The two main problems with trying to start a club, even just something as simple as meeting once/wk at a local park or something, are (1) you'll need an instructor, and (2) you'll need proper equipment. Although it's true that many clubs do the first couple of lessons with pool noodles, after that the kids use proper equipment, which includes, at minimum: a nonelectric weapon, a mask, a heavy fencing jacket and a fabric chest protector (plastron). In the beginning, many kids just wear sweatpants and sneakers rather than buying special knickers and fencing shoes. It's possible to buy inexpensive plastic weapons and masks (e.g. see here), but the jacket and plastron are also important, because even a plastic sword can cause serious injury if it breaks, and a broken metal weapon can literally kill you.

 

Fencing is actually a much more technical sport than it may appear; there are very specific moves to learn, and form and footwork are important, so you really do need an instructor. You might check with the fencing club at Yokosuka Sogo HS, and see if someone there would be willing to help out. You'd still need to order the equipment, but someone from the club there might be able to help with that as well. You could also check with the base and see if anyone there fences and would be willing to volunteer for an hour or so per week.

 

If the kids really just want to play with foam swords, I would probably look for some books & videos on theatrical fencing or swordplay, or look for resources on LARPing. There are lots of free online tutorials for fighting techniques as well as making elaborate weapons and armor out of foam and duct tape.

 

 

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Do your kids want to do support fencing specifically, or just do swordplay in general? LARP groups are one option--Amptgard is a good one.

 

Or there are historical recreation and reenactment groups. I highly recommend the SCA. WWW.sca.org . Youth combat outfitting is fairly inexpensive, some groups have loaner gear, and practices are free.

 

Eta: not in the U.S.? SCA is international (Canada, Europe, Australia, and several places with largee u.s. military bases) and many places have culturally based weapon arts such as the aforementioned kendo. There are quite a few reenactment groups in Europe as well.

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My son is a competitive fencer and has fenced at clubs in several states, as well as at national competitions. The two main problems with trying to start a club, even just something as simple as meeting once/wk at a local park or something, are (1) you'll need an instructor, and (2) you'll need proper equipment. Although it's true that many clubs do the first couple of lessons with pool noodles, after that the kids use proper equipment, which includes, at minimum: a nonelectric weapon, a mask, a heavy fencing jacket and a fabric chest protector (plastron). In the beginning, many kids just wear sweatpants and sneakers rather than buying special knickers and fencing shoes. It's possible to buy inexpensive plastic weapons and masks (e.g. see here), but the jacket and plastron are also important, because even a plastic sword can cause serious injury if it breaks, and a broken metal weapon can literally kill you.

 

Fencing is actually a much more technical sport than it may appear; there are very specific moves to learn, and form and footwork are important, so you really do need an instructor. You might check with the fencing club at Yokosuka Sogo HS, and see if someone there would be willing to help out. You'd still need to order the equipment, but someone from the club there might be able to help with that as well. You could also check with the base and see if anyone there fences and would be willing to volunteer for an hour or so per week.

 

If the kids really just want to play with foam swords, I would probably look for some books & videos on theatrical fencing or swordplay, or look for resources on LARPing. There are lots of free online tutorials for fighting techniques as well as making elaborate weapons and armor out of foam and duct tape.

I am so glad you responded. What you said corresponds exactly to my friend's son's experience. He started a few years ago with once a week lessons that were held a a local racquet club. Now, a few years later he practices multiple times per week, several hours per practice, and travels for competitions.

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Thanks a bunch!  I've never heard of LARP, so will look into that.  I didn't realize the local schools had clubs--when I asked about it before no one knew anything and said no.  Yes, he'd actually like to fence, but playing around with swords would probably suffice too, that's actually what they're doing now. This is such a good start though.

 

There was a SCA group. but they all left. :(

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