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Features of IFA fencing programs:

  • all programs are taught by the professional coaches, from beginners to the top fencers participating international competitions
  • fencing programs customized for different starting age, experience, and skill levels
  • flexible group class schedule and tuition scale
  • 8 full length fencing strips and capacity to accommodate 20-30 students at any given time
  • friendly environment and professional training plans
  • referral credit available

During the 2018-2019 season, we offer the following fencing programs: youth beginners, intermediate (youth pre-competitive), youth competitive, advanced, and teen/adult programs. Please see below for the description of these programs:

Youth Beginners

The students are first introduced to the basics of fencing, including en garde position, basic footwork drills, footwork combinations. Then they start to use practice weapons to get training in hand position, as well as hand leg coordination. The concepts of attacks and defenses, as well as fencing strategies and tactics, will also be introduced. In the group class, the students will dress up with the fencing gears and practice with each other in pairs, under the coach's close supervision. The beginner students can sign up for private lessons when slots are available. Coach will evaluate every student's progress in each group class and private lesson. When the students are ready to move to the next level, they will be invited to the intermediate group class for fencing practice on the electronic strips.

The progress is determined by many factors, such as the student's age, athletic ability, frequency of the group class and/or private lessons, etc. For example, an 8-year-old child may take 2-3 sessions with weekly group class and/or private lessons. 

For parents looking to start a new activity for young children, the beginners program may be a good fit:

  • affordable tuition: $25 per hourly group class, only apply to the classes attended; 
    For example, if a student only comes to 3 group classes in a month, the tuition will be $75 per month. 
  • group class with fun games and exercises specially designed to improve physical strength and attention span
  • small group size: no more than 10 students per class
  • ongoing enrollment (i.e. can start at any time)
  • customized teaching: students can move to the next level at different pace

Intermediate (Youth Pre-competitive)

In the intermediate program, the students continue to learn the technical skills of fencing, footwork drills, strategies and tactics, improve their mental and physical strength. They will take group classes and private lessons routinely. When the students are ready, coaches will recommend them to attend local competitions.

Students are required to have their own fencing attires and gears to start the intermediate program. A full new set (about $400-500) includes fencing mask, jacket, lame (metal vest), pants, chest protector, underarm protector, long socks, body cord, glove, foil, and a fencing bag. They also need to learn how to put on the fencing gears. 

By the time they are ready to start competitions, they need to have minimum 2 foils, 2 body cords, and 1 mask cord in the working condition. They may want to have a separate set of fencing mask and lame, and upgrade to the fencing bag with wheels.

Youth Competitive

After the students compete consistently for about a year, the students may be recommended for the youth competitive (YC) program with coach's evaluation. In this program, the students are invited to participate in the group class with advanced fencers once or twice a week. Cadet (age 13 or older) competitive fencers may train with advanced fencers more often if approved/recommended by coach. 

Advanced fencing skills, strategies and mental training will be introduced in this program. Students take private lesson 2-3 times per week. They are expected to compete in the regional tournaments consistently and also participate in the national tournaments competitions once or twice a year.

Advanced

The advanced training program is open to students who are 12 years old and hold USFA rating D or above. Cadet competitive fencers who consistently compete in the regional and national tournaments may join the advanced program with coach's approval. 

The advanced program includes intensive technical and mental training, physical conditioning, more complicated footwork combinations, and complex fencing strategies and tactics in drills. The high-performance fencers will attend competitions nationally and internationally. The students built their skills through private lessons, competitive training class, fencing camps, open fencing practice, and competitions.

Enjoy the fencing videos from the International Fencing Federation (FIE) with the best fencers in the world, and the highest level of fencing competitions year round.  

Teen/Adult 

Fencing is a great sport for teenagers and adults, too. This new program is specially designed for fencers who are over thirteen years old. They enjoy the sport but are not yet ready for fencing competitions.

For teens and adults who had no fencing experience, they can start to take private lessons and join the group class upon coaches’ recommendation. 

Benefits of fencing

Fencing can help people build their strength on many levels, especially in children. How many sports do you know of that can give both physical and mental challenges while building their confidence, social skills, and academic future?  Sounds almost too good to be true, doesn’t it?  But this is exactly what fencing can do.

With its rapid footwork and thrusting, people get a high-impact aerobic workout.  You can think of fencing as a type of dance, because we use the same sort of skill set – understanding timing, tempo, measure and velocity. Likewise, in the dance of fencing, the student has to develop a sense of body awareness, not only knowing how their own body is positioned, but how they are positioned in relation to his or her opponent.  This body awareness is something that transcends beyond fencing – it’s a huge part of healthy living! 

Fencing is also a terrific stress reliever.  People can release their aggression and frustration through fencing in a controlled environment.  When they go to the strip, nothing else matters.  All problems and worries melt away – as they concentrate on technique and strategy.  Some high school students say that fencing is their escape from the pressures of peers and school.

Fencing is like a game of physical chess:  Every move by the opponent spurs a reaction and response.  The key is learning to think strategically so that you can score a hit, or point.  While coaches provide a lot of guidance and training during practice, the real mental challenge comes on the strip when the fencer is squaring off against his/her opponent.  There, all the thinking that goes on is independent.  The fencer has to learn to focus, be intuitive, and stay in the moment.  By the way, colleges LOVE fencers!  Many colleges actively recruit applicants with fencing backgrounds, even going as far as to offer fencing scholarships. 

Fencing is a wonderful tool to bolster confidence.  To meet an opponent’s attack, the fencer has to be quick on their feet with their defensive strategy; this means there’s no time for second-guessing oneself.  Fencing requires bold moves and self-assuredness both in defense and offense.  This is the one sport where size doesn’t matter, only skill. This is one of the few sports that evens the playing field between size, age, sexes, ethnicity and personality.  It's hard to think of another sport that even comes close to doing that! Likewise, fencing is a sport where parents and children can compete together.  It’s a great way for a family to bond closely by sharing the same passion and vision in a sport – especially during the teenage years when the ties with our kids can become strained. 

One of the biggest benefits of the fencing sport is the opportunity to make friends.  Fencing bridges the gap between age differences, sexes, size, and ethnicity – opening the door to a network of friends that might not have been available through everyday venues such as school.  The fencers get exposed to many different types of personalities and experiences they might not have otherwise faced. Fencing is one of the few sports where kids can compete not only on a local level, but nationally and internationally as well.  Fencers often have the ability to meet — and even compete against — professional fencers on a regular basis.  This is not something likely to happen in other sports such as basketball or baseball.  Interacting with their fencing idols and competing outside their locale can have an enormous impact on a young child. 


Summary of the fencing programs during 2018-2019 season

Fencing programs Youth Beginners Teen/Adult Youth Intermediate Youth Competitive Advanced
Class frequency (week) 1 1 4 4 4
Class duration (hours/class) 1 1.5 1.5 1.5-2 2
day of the week for group classes Sat Thu Mon Wed Thu Sat Mon Wed Thu Fri Mon Tue Wed Fri
Max number of students per class 10 16 20 16-20 16
Need your own fencing gears No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Need your own fencing attire not required.
need to wear long sports pants and sneakers.
required required required required
Tuition (8-week session) $25/class, only apply to classes attended. $300 $300/$400/$500 $500/$580 $640
private lessons recommended recommended recommended/required required required

Refer to Schedule for the exact time of each group class.
Refer to Member Area for the tuition for subcategories in Youth Intermediate and Youth Competitive programs.