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“Is Fencing Right for My Kid?”

Fencing at its most competitive is a highly athletic and intellectual sport that emphasizes top all-round physical fitness, lightning analytical capabilities, and emotional resilience. Even competitive youth fencers often exceed peers who are active in other sports in regard to aerobic and anaerobic capacities, agility, endurance, and the ability to adapt rapidly to new situations.

In addition, fencing is just pure FUN! Each “bout” (individual fencing match) is like a new book, with plot twists and turns that you have to respond and adapt to — and then re-write your own “story” based on the new information… as your opponent does just the same with his or her story.

Of course, everyone starts right on Page One. With a Learn-to-Fence or Beginners class. With group classes that teach the basic concepts of safety, footwork, and basic attack and defense.

Typically, youth fencers begin their training using the foil — a pure thrust weapon whose configuration and core concepts have changed little over the past 300 years. It is a light, slender, flexible weapon with a big safety button at the tip that is simply ideal to teach the basics of fencing.

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A pair of fencing foils. Don’t worry, the club provides anything the kids need!

The aim of each bout is to place your foil tip on the opponent’s target area, which in foil includes the torso only.

It’s more challenging than you’d think: Remember, your opponent also has a foil and not only tries to score a touch on you while at the same time defends against your attack.

Combining the self-reliance of an individual sport with the constant interaction with the opponent makes fencing ideal for kids who easily get bored running after a ball or looking at the tiles on the bottom of a swimming pool.

Coaches Larbi Soufiane and Chris Amberger have been teaching kids how to fence for a combined half-century, with some of their students going on to obtain hard-to-get fencing scholarships at top US colleges and competing internationally.

Frequently Asked Questions

Youth Beginners (ages 8-14)

Start: January 8, 2020, 5:30PM at Wheeler Hall, 500 Chestnut Avenue, Towson, MD 21204.

Students will build up agility and stamina in an age-appropriate but challenging class involving:

  • Stretch, Strength & Agility Exercises
  • Footwork
  • Bladework
  • Bouting

Over 8 weeks, Coach Larbi Soufiane will introduce your child to the concepts of modern competitive fencing in a cooperative, kids-friendly atmosphere. Our program focuses on teaching the proper way to move (balanced advancing, retreating, lunging, acceleration units), using distance both for offense and defense, using the foil both to score on the opponent and to keep from getting scored on). At the end of the course, the students will get to experience fencing using the electric scoring apparatus.

The club provides all gear: masks, gloves, plastrons (a protective garment worn over the shoulder and armpit of the sword warm), and foils.

Our first Youth Beginners Class in 2020 will start on January 8, 2020.

Location: Wheeler Hall at Loyola Blakefield, 500 Chestnut Avenue, Towson MD 21204.

Sign Up Here!

[This link gets you to the Registration and Sign-up Menu of the Blakefield Experience. Click on Page 2 and look for Beginner’s Fencing JANUARY ONLY.]

If you have any questions about the program, please don’t hesitate to contact Coach Chris Amberger at jcamberger@gmail.com.

For questions regarding registration and sign-up, please contact Chantal Cross at ccross@loyolablakefield.org.