FENCING IN LOCAL TOURNAMENTS
A Parent’s Guide to How Things Work
Before the event
• Make sure your fencer’s name is on everything: weapons, mask, body cords, etc.
• Make sure your fencer has everything they need before you leave home. Mental checklist: What do they need to fence? What do they need to be comfortable? (Note: Venues are notoriously cold due to air conditioning. It’s not a bad idea for both parents and fencers to bring layers of clothes.)
• Plan to arrive before the opening of registration. This allows time for check in and warm up.
• If you are in an age group event (i.e. Y10), you may need proof of age such as a birth certificate or pass port. You must also have the correct size/length of blade.
When you arrive
• Store gear in the back room so bags don’t get in the way of the fencing area.
• Check in at the front desk with your USFA card/number
• Masks must also pass a safety check. This could be located next to the check in or in the Armory. (It doesn’t matter if you go through mask check before you check in.)
• Make sure your fencer checks in on time!!
• Once your fencer has checked in and has gotten their mask checked, they should suit up and begin to warm up. Fencers are told to stretch, get warm, and then fence at least three bouts (not necessarily with their friends!).
During the Event/Pools
• Approximately 30 minutes after the close of registration/check-in, you should hear a director/coach announce pools and strip number
• Fencers should take all their gear (i.e. two weapons, two body cords, water bottle, etc.) to the strip they will be fencing on.
• The referee will call role within the pool, check the stamp/mark on the mask, and check plasterons/chest protectors
• The referee will then call the first bout. Be aware: “On strip” means fencing now, “On deck” means fencing next, and “In the hole” means they are two bouts away.
• The name the referee calls first is on the right. A left handed fencer is always on the director’s left.
• You are expected to be ready to approach the strip as soon as the preceding bout is finished. The fencer who just fenced should hand the clip to the next fencer. Fencers should bring their extra weapon(s) and body cord(s) and have them at the end of the strip.
• Each time a fencer gets up to fence, the referee will check the weapon with weight and shims. Politely present your weapon (either kneel down or hold the weapon low enough so the referee can access the tip) so it can be checked.
• Equipment that fails inspection is confiscated by the referee until the end of the bout. (This is why it’s important to have spares.) Be sure to pick up your confiscated equipment up immediately after the bout and get it repaired.
• Pools are fenced to five touches, or for three minutes. If three minutes is up and the fencers have not reached five points, the fencer with the most points win. If, at the end of three minutes, the score is tied, the bout goes into a priority round (see other page for explanation)
• After all the pools on that strip, your fencer has a break. It’s important not to leave the strip for any reason until your fencer has signed off on the score sheet. This break is a good time to eat, re-hydrate, and rest up.
• Once all pools have finished, the results of the pools will be posted. The list shows how everyone finished overall based on their performance in pools.
Direct Elimination Rounds
• Direct elimination, or DE’s will then be posted. Make sure your fencer listens for their name as well as what strip number they’re on.
• Fencers will once again collect their gear and report to the strip. The director will check for mask stamps and plasterons/chest protectors.
• Extra weapons, body cords, and water should be placed at the back of the strip.
• Direct Elimination bouts are fenced to fifteen points, or nine minutes. Every three minutes, the fencers have a one minute break. If nine minutes is up and the fencers have not reached fifteen points, the fencer with the most points win. If, at the end of nine minutes, the score is tied, the bout goes into a priority round.
• If your fencer wins, the referee will give them a slip of paper that they need to take to the bout committee (or the front desk). This informs the bout committee of the winner, If they already know who you fence next, they will give you a slip to return to the referee. If not, wait for your name and strip to be called.
• Fencers are guaranteed 10 minutes between DE bouts to rest, so they should not be called for at least 10 minutes (even if they know who they are fencing next)
• If your fencer loses their DE, they are permitted to suit down and be supportive of their friends!
To the Fencer:
• Remember when you fence at a competition, you are representing your team. It’s important to show good sportsmanship!
• There are times you will lose when you thought you should have won, and days you will win and surprise yourself.
• Referees are only human and sometimes make bad calls or mistakes; accept this.
• If something is quite blatant, your coach can ask the referee to review the call.
• Shake your opponent’s hand and make eye contact at the end of each bout. Make sure to shake your referee’s hand and the end of the pools and thank them. This should also be done at the end of each DE.
• Win graciously, lose graciously. It will serve you better in the long run.
• In the event of a tie at the end of a timed period, athletes fence for a further one minute period,
• A coin is flipped to establish the fencer with priority.
• The first to score a hit is the winner, but if no hits are made during this time, the priority fencer wins the bout.
More information, including what equipment to bring to a tournament, can be found here:
Parents guide to Fencing