What Is The Best Age To Start Fencing?

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Fencing is a very athletic sport, which requires a lot of balance combined with hand-eye coordination. So, it can be a little difficult to decide, when the best age to start fencing is. Here is a quick guide about fencing.

I started to watch fencing during the Summer Olympics in Athen, Grecce in 2004. My first impression was probably in James Bond - Die Another Day, which I - back then - thought was an amazing movie, and now I will encourage my children to start fencing when they are old enough.

What Is the Best Age to Start Fencing? The best age to start fencing is when you are around 7 to 11 years old. This is because the sport is a little demanding, so many clubs don’t allow kids younger than 7 years in the community, which is pretty fair. There is no particular rule for when it is best to start fencing.

When it comes to fencing, there are three schools of discipline:

  • Epee
  • Sabre
  • Foil

If you want to know more about fencing, and what equipment it requires to start fencing, then continue to read my quick guide. I will come around the questions: At which age is the most appropriate to start? what is fencing? And then I will give advises about where you can find great equipment for a fair price.

What is fencing? Long story short

Swordplay has been practiced for thousands of years, and fencing has been an Olympic sport since 1896 for men. In 1924 at the Olympic in Paris, it first started for women as well. So what is fencing really? Fencing is a combat sport with swords and can be divided into the three disciplines Epee, Sabre, and Foil.

Fencing in general

Fencing, in general, is based on traditional skills of swordsmanship and self-defense. It has its roots in southern Europe, where Spain, France, and Italy have been a huge part of the history of fencing and the development in general. So it has a long and exciting history.

I will not come up will all the good old facts today, but here is a quick guide to how the rules are in fencing, and also how it has been competed in the Olympics:

The aim of the game

  • Stike the opponent on their target area with a a sword. 

Match format

  • Individual bouts last for three 3-minute rounds or first to 15 points.
  • Team competitions consist of nine 3-minute bouts or the first to 45 points

Disciplines

  • Foil - A lightweight blade
  • Sabre - The shortest blade
  • Epee - The longest and heaviest blade

Check out the full post about Epees by clicking here.

Target areas

  • Epee - Any part of the body
  • Foil - The torso or groin
  • Sabre - Above the belt

The most successful female fencer in the Olympics is Valentina Vezzali from Italy. She has won 9 Olympics medals in fencing over five different Olympics. First one was in Atlanta in 1996, and the last one was in London 2012.

Fencing - Sword & Equipment

To get back to the question: What is the best age to start fencing - which I would say is around 9 years old, but again this is very individual. The most kids start with the discipline Foil because it is a form of a combination of the offense of Saber and the defense of Epee.

“Saber fencing is like Formula 1 racing,” said U.S. Olympic men’s saber fencer Daryl Homer. “It’s aggressive, fast and requires split-second decision making.”

- Many of the best fencers in the world have started in the age between 8 and 10 years.

Fencing Equipment list:

You need some equipment to start fencing. You can find a lot of great equipment on Amazon to a fair price, and some of the clubs also provide a lot of beginner gear before you invest too much in the sport.

Weapons:

NameBlade lengthWeight
Foil SwordMax 110 cmApprox: 400 g
Sabre SwordMax 88 cmApprox: 500 g
Epee SwordMax 110 cmApprox: 600 g



Foil - A lightweight blade

Sabre - The shortest blade

Epee - Usually The longest and heaviest blade

Protective clothing (Click on the links to find prices and reviews on Amazon) 

Take a look at the full post about the best fencing shoes here.

  • Lamé
  • Sleeve

Best Fencing Equipment: See 7 recommendations

There is a lot of differences when it comes to the equipment in fencing, and what it cost. You can get electric equipment as well, which is required if you are gonna participate in electric fencing.

I have found 7 recommendations for Fencing equipment

1. LEONARK set for Foil 

This is a great beginner set for Foil, and you can find a complete set with great reviews.

Check it on Amazon

2. LEONARK  Fencing Saber Mask

Electric mask in high quality. Great for beginners, and with a fair price for quality delivered.

Check it on Amazon

3. Leather Beginner Fencing Gloves  

There are very great anti-slip gloves, and perfect for beginners.

Check it on Amazon

4. McDavid Chest Protector 

These are very good for the youth and are made unisex. These will keep you safe during training.

Check it on Amazon

5. Blade Practice 

Find a lightweight beginners blade here. You both have the choice of finding a lefty or a right.

Check it on Amazon

6. AFG Epee Mask 

AFG makes quality gear, and their Masks are great for beginners, and they have fair prices.

Check it on Amazon

7. Fencing Equipment Gear tip

Find some gear tips, which wear out easily. It is for practice weapons, and they are very affordable.

Check it on Amazon

The three disciplines of fencing: Which weapon to start with

As I stated earlier in the post, the most common fencing discipline for kids to start with is Foil. This is because it is a kind of combination between saber and Epee.

The Olympic Fencer Daryl Homer started fencing with Saber at 11 years old because he wanted to be cool. So, you can start with whatever, but saber is definitely the most aggressive and quickest form of the disciplines.

Epee has most of its focus on defense, and it requires high skills to defend the opponent to attempt in scoring points. Counter moves are crucial, and it can take a little time to master this discipline, but it is the same with Saber and Foil.

The reason why you should start with Foil

You get a better allround fencer if you start with Foil fencing. A good foil fencer can quickly learn both Epee and Saber with a couple of months of training, where the steps are a little further away from each other if you either start with Epee or Saber.

Some people say that the “cool kids” are fencing saber, because of the speed, but my opinion is, that the two other disciplines can be just as exciting as fun and cool. So, I would recommend starting with foil, but it should always be the kid who decides for him/her-self.

No matter what, it is never too late to change discipline, and a lot of the best fencers in the world started off with a different discipline, then they are fencing now.

The length and weight variers a lot of the different swords, but the is usually a minimum and a maximum. Another reason to start with Foil is, that it also has the lightest blade, but the other swords come with a light blade as well, so it is not so crucial a point to estimate it from.

Thank you for reading my quick guide to What Is The Best Age to Start Fencing.

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