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How to Learn to Fence

by Customer Support on September 14, 2022

Have you ever wanted to know how to fight with a sword? Unbelievably for some, the sport fencing has not died out. Far from it. The rules have become fairly complex; electrical equipment has been invented that aid in the playing of the sport, and schools of fencing exist in all parts of the earth. It's an exciting sport in the Olympics that combines traditions going back hundreds of years, with modern technology. Fortunately, the days of swordsmen are over so you can have a lot of fun fencing, without risking life and limb.

Decide why you want to fence. Is it for fitness, competition, or for historical appeal? All of these are legitimate reasons, and each leads to a different type of fencing and training. Fencing is an old art that has great traditions and cultures, so you may find it more enjoyable if you immerse yourself in it. Fencing is a great way to learn both mental and physical skill and discipline. But it’s also great exercise and great fun for the more casual fencer too!
Research different types of fencing. Fencing has very strong traditions, and a number of distinct schools with different styles and approaches. The Italian, Spanish, and French schools, which can trace their histories back hundreds of years, are dominant across the world of fencing. The difference between these schools may be relatively slight, focused on the specifics of different weapons, but it is worth having a basic knowledge before you start.
Find a fencing club or school near you. The next step is to find somewhere near you to get started. You may find that there are more possibilities for fencing than you imagined, so research each school within easy travelling distance. You should keep in mind the following criteria for selecting a fencingclub.
  • Does the club match your goals? 
  • Does the club properly enforce safety?
  • Are there enough coaches for you to have private lessons regularly?

Joining a Club and Getting Started

1 - Join up. Once you have decided on where you want to go arrange a trial period, or taster session to see what you think. You can also just sit in on a class to see how it all works, and get a feel for the coaching techniques and styles.

2- Start going to group classes. Throw yourself into it, but be sure to pay attention to the style of the classes, be respectful and listen. Fencing is a combination of physical skill and mental sharpness, as well as lots of self-discipline. Be ready to really concentrate on what you are learning, which means both the theory and the practice.
  • The rules can be complicated so do your homework and ask about anything you are unsure of or confused by.

3-Try to find out who the best available coach in your club is. Usually, they'll have a few hours a week in which you can fit in private lessons with them. Sometimes, this is not the case, and it will be necessary to take group lessons from that coach, if you want to take any at all. Take them up on this if it is offered, but try to find another coach to give you private lessons as well.

 Mastering the Basics

1- Learn to use your sword correctly and safely. It's important that you know how to hold your sword. Don't wave it around, and never point it at somebody who isn't wearing the protective mask. When you are holding it, keep the point of sword pointing towards the floor. If you are moving while holding the sword, hold it by the point not the handle. If you need both of your hands to take your mask on or off, be sure to put the sword down first.

Get to know the essential terminology. You will need to have a solid understanding of the basic lexicon of fencing. Some of the most important terms to learn at the beginning are: En garde, Attack, Parry, Riposte, Counter Riposte. Attack is an offensive action, parry a defensive one.A riposte is a counter-attack after a parry, and a counter-risposte is an attack that follows a parry of a riposte.

 Master the basic footwork. Footwork is absolutely essential in fencing, so it's important to develop fluid and easy movement. The basics you will need to learn, however, are the En Garde position, and the simple advance and retreat. The En Garde position is your starting position. You will stand side on, leading with your sword hand, with your foot on that side pointed towards your opponent while your rear foot points out at roughly 90 degrees. When advancing the front foot leads, and when retreating the back foot leads.

Decide on your sword. Once you've got started you might want to choose to focus on one weapon which you prefer. Your coach will probably present you with a choice of weapons (Foil, Epee, or Saber), or give you a foil without such a choice. Many fencing masters and coaches believe that the correct order to learn the weapons in is foil-épée-saber. Sometimes you will encounter a coach who will try to start students with Epee or Saber (this is actually fairly common among high school coaches, as they need to generate fencers in all weapons quickly).

Conclusion paragraph: In conclusion, it is important to start with the basics and learn the fundamentals of fencing. Different coaches may have different opinions on which weapon you should start out with, but it is ultimately up to the individual fencer to make that decision. Make sure you are well-equipped for your training by choosing quality fencing gear from a reputable company like AFG. With the right tools, you can be on your way to becoming a successful fencer.