One of the most confusing areas each year is the qualification path for different age groups of fencers. That’s not because of a deficit on your part – it’s because the rules are constantly changing. You barely have a chance to get yourself familiar with last year’s path to the July Challenge for Cadets before finding out that a few short months later it is completely different!
The reason is simple – fencing is an evolving sport in the USA. More and more fencers want to participate in different levels of national competition, so the USFA is continually trying to find the winning formula that will allow it to satisfy several, sometimes contradicting objectives. From one side, the USFA wants to provide the best competitive level of opportunity for high level fencers, but from another side it also wants to provide national level competitive opportunities for a wide range of fencers in every specific age category. So every year the rules change as USFA searches for the perfect mix, leaving fencers and their parents needing to learn the new rules – again.