Questions I'm Often Asked

    

 WHAT KIND OF A SPORT IS FENCING?

A wonderful sport--a sport requiring speed, dexterity, and a quick mind.

It's a gentlemen's and lady's sport. By that I mean that it places high value on respect for yourself and your fellow fencers. Bad sportsmanship is simply not tolerated. And the camaraderie among fencers is unlike anything you've seen in most other sports.

Fencing has heavy anaerobic and aerobic aspects and, consequently requires a great deal of training and stamina to do it well. I've seriously competed in sports such as basketball, volleyball, cross country, etc.; and this is the best of the lot if you want a fun, but strenuous workout involving plenty of strategy and tactics.

You can pursue this sport as a serious competitor, or you can participate in it just for fun.

It's a sport you can start when you're young; and a sport you can continue to have fun at until you die (hopefully not at sword point.). Unlike other sports, a fencer usually reaches his or her peak in their mid-thirties.

 HOW OLD DO YOU HAVE TO BE TO FENCE?

Old enough to listen and respond well to a fencing instructor. Old enough to be willing to do the conditioning. Old enough to be willing to follow through on the drills necessary to become a good fencer. Some children are ready when they're about eight years old; other children aren't ready until they're a couple years older. Check with your local fencing club or "salle" instructor to see what their requirements are.

 HOW LONG CAN YOU PARTICIPATE IN THE SPORT?

As long as you're in good enough shape to. I've one friend who's seventy-three years old and still fencing. And I'm in my late 50's.

 WHERE CAN I GET FENCING LESSONS

Almost anywhere. Most major cities have one or more fencing salles (clubs) where you can take up the sport. Also, you may find some universities and colleges. Check out some of the links on my fencing page to learn if there's such a place in your town, or post a message on the Fencing USENET Newsgroup or the forums on Fencing.net.

 HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?

Prices for lessons vary from instructor to instructor. Here in Cleveland, OH, $5 to $15 per lesson is not unusual. If your instructor is of a particularly high caliber, the price may be higher--but the training will usually be worth it.

Prices to equip a beginning fencer run about $115-$300 for a non-electric weapon, a protective face mask, a 3-weapon jacket, and a glove for the sword hand. Sometimes, as at our club, equipment can be rented for a few dollars per practice. Ultimately, if you pursue the sport competitively, you'll spend another $300-$400 for competition class equipment.

Most of a fencer's ongoing costs will be replacement blades for weapons (they do break on occasion). Practice blades cost around $30; electrical (competition) blades cost around $65.  

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Sunday, January 20, 2008