Competitive Fencing

When Should Fencers Start Competing?

Fencing is a great way to gain experience and gain new skills. It is best to start competitions when you feel you are ready to take the competition seriously. Wait until you have a good understanding of the footwork, distance, simple attacks, and parries.There are competitions for novices-advanced fencers and everyone in-between. It’s best to speak to your personal instructor if you feel that you are ready to begin. Before competing, it is recommended to begin regular private instruction in addition to group classes at least once per week.

What is Needed for Fencing 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.
  • 2. Equipment: Full set of electric equipment with age appropriate weapons. Please ask your coach about age appropriate weapons.
  • 3. Coaching: When anyone begins competing, it is very important that their personal coach is there to guide them through the process. The coach helps with check in, explains how competitions work and what to expect, provides warm up before the start of competitions and watches and guides your fencing. Coaches may give you advice right on the strip or may work with you when you are back at your club practicing. Many instructors will also ask you to keep a notebook where you jot down what actions worked for you during a particular bout and which actions did not.

Coaching fees typically start at $40 for home events and vary for national and international competitions. This all depends on how many people have asked for coaching to a certain event and where it’s located.

Please keep in mind that your coaches must be informed early if you are planning on asking him/her to look after you during a particular event.

What Are Fencing Classifications?

For the purpose of distinguishing between levels of performance and providing an objective scale for the seeding of competitions, 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, with the letter indicating the classification and the number indicating the latest year when that classification was earned or re-earned.

How Are Fencing Classifications Earned?

Classifications are earned at 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.

Common Fencer's Mistake

Inexperienced fencers often fall prey to chasing after a classification rather than concentrating on improving their fencing skills. Classifications should not be looked upon as an item of prestige since their only function is to help with seeding. Having a classification based on one stellar day does not mean you have mastered all the fundamentals. A "C" can be a curse for those who need the time to hone the skills needed to compete successfully at the national level. Obtaining a “C” classification too early precludes the fencer from competing in “D” and under developmental tournaments where essential skills can be learned. While a higher classification gives you a better seed in the pool round your seeding in the direct elimination tableau is dependent only on performance in the pool rounds. Improve your skills, practice, bout regularly, and compete locally. For the patient fencer who works hard to improve, a classification comes when least expected, but well deserved.

Where Do I Register for Fencing Tournaments

All local events may be found on This website breaks tournaments down by weapon, age, division and level. We are located in the Long Island division. Please speak to your instructor before registering for any tournaments that are outside Island Fencing Academy. Please ask us for a USFA form if you are interested in applying for membership.?

Contact Us

Island Fencing Academy
101-32 Dupont Street
Plainview, NY 11803

Phone: 516-576-0646

Hours of Operation
4 PM - 9 PM
Saturday and Sunday:
10 AM - 1 PM

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