Art of Fencing, Art of Life

Month: October 2022

How to Put Your Name on a Fencing Jacket

How to Put Your Name on a Fencing Jacket

One of the major milestones that a fencer takes comes when they get their name put on their jacket. This is a mark showing that they are not only committed to fencing, but that they are invested in competition to a level of showing the world that they are here for the long haul. Of course, having a jacket stenciled with your name is a requirement for competing in every USA Fencing national-level event, such as NAC’s (North America Cup), July Challenge, or National Championships. 

It’s more than just a requirement, though – getting a name on a jacket is also an initiation of sorts. Youth fencers feel a real sense of pride when they get their name put on their jackets. It’s also a big step for adult fencers, who feel that same rush of pride! There is something magical about the dark letters on the white jacket. Many fencers choose to get their name on their jacket as they get close to that level of competition in order to mentally psych themselves into improving. 

There is, however, a cold hard practicality to putting the name on the jacket. To dive deep into what that can look like, let’s go through the requirements as well as the possible ways to meet them. 

What are USA Fencing Divisions 1, 1A, 2 and 3

What are USA Fencing Divisions 1, 1A, 2 and 3

For the most part, fencing categories are easily identifiable and distinguishable. It’s clear from the name what they are and what groups comprise their ranks. 

Youth categories are labeled with age-specific titles – Y8 through Y14 are clearly moving up through specific ages. It’s right there in the title. Veterans are mature fencers, which again makes sense because a veteran indicates someone who has been around for a long time. Cadet, Junior, and Senior all sound like military ranks as well, and they all give the idea of someone who is training or coming of age in the sport. 

Where it’s easy to get confused when we move to the divisional categories. This is all the more confusing because there are also divisional competitions within the structure of qualification for the Junior Olympics and Fencing Summer Nationals. Those competitions aren’t related to Divisions 1, 1A, 2, and 3, but rather they just share a name. There are many, many divisional competitions that cover a specific region or even down to a specific city. These hyper regionally focused tournaments cover a wide range of qualifying event classes, which are often tailored to the kind of fencing that is popular in that particular area.

For Divisions 1, 1A, 2 and 3, participation is actually fairly straightforward. These four categories have their own set of parameters, and they carry a specific weight in the fencing competition circuit. Like other fencing categories, they are separated by age, but there are other extraordinary things about the divisional level of competition. It’s not just another place that fencers progress to when they have a birthday!

Qualification Update: 2023 Fencing Summer Nationals

Qualification Update: 2023 Fencing Summer Nationals

We’re already in the thick of the 2022-23 fencing season, and that means it’s time to start thinking about those long-term goals surrounding Fencing Summer Nationals next year.

This year, there are more opportunities than ever to qualify for the tournament, and with all of these potential ways to compete, we want to be sure that everyone is well prepared for reaching their potential. 

Where competitions are held

There’s been a lot of discussion online about the way that the tournament season was structured, particularly in regards to the geographic distribution of the tournaments around the country. Where and when major tournaments take place can have a significant impact on who can attend, which then has far reaching ramifications for how qualification plays out for individuals. For many fencers, the placement of national tournaments this season means that they’ll have to rethink what they’d like to attend to qualify. 

We wrote an in-depth piece about this when it was announced over the summer, and you can get all of the details there. 

The placement of national tournaments could be a challenge for those fencers who are accustomed to qualifying in a certain way. They might be frustrated that travel expenses are difficult to overcome, thanks to where those national tournaments are now. Rather than looking at this as a hindrance, fencers can view this as an opportunity to travel more or to challenge themselves to go the divisional or regional level to get the all way to the top.

Now the big question is – how do fencers qualify for Fencing Summer Nationals? Here’s what you need to know.

Recalibrating as you Age in Fencing

Recalibrating as you age in fencing

Age is truly a relative thing. When you are a little kid, you can’t wait to be a teenager. When you’re a teenager, you can’t wait to be an adult. When you’re an adult, you wonder why your childhood and teenage self were in such a hurry to rush through to adulthood. 

When you think about it in the bigger picture like this, it’s easy to see that it’s a no-win situation. At every age, you could see something wrong with the stage that you’re at. This is really true in sport, because the limitations and strengths of our physical bodies change so clearly with time.

Fencing is different than many sports because it is possible to enjoy the sport fully even as we age. There’s a reason that the Veteran category of fencing has age ranges all the way up to the eighties! Even with that reality, it’s not uncommon to hear fencers comment on how they are limited by their age in this way or that way. It even happens to younger fencers, who must grapple with bodies that grow four inches in a year and force them to change the way they approach the sport. 

Learning to recalibrate how you think about aging in fencing will make it easier to reach those fencing goals, and what’s more, it will make you a happier fencer. 

Strip Warm Up Etiquette at Fencing Competitions

Strip Warm Up Etiquette at Fencing Competitions

Fencing competitions can be big and boisterous, loud, and slightly confusing events that can throw new fencers off guard. There’s so much movement and so many things going on – how can you find places to warm up and whether you can even use some spaces is a question for many fencers heading to competitions for the first time

The first rule of warmup space

At a fencing competition, the first and best rule to follow is to follow the lead of other fencers from your club, especially those who are more experienced than you, who are also warming up, or to seek an empty space before you start to warm up. This goes not only for strips but also for unusual spaces. 

Most venues where fencing competitions are held are full of nooks and crannies. Fencers can often find secluded spaces where they can go stretch, meditate, do cardio-like jumping jacks, or where they get out their weapon and do some training. Finding a good space is incredibly important for getting yourself ready to perform at your best level. 

Look out for spaces that are clear and well away from active strips, as you don’t want to get in the way of official tournament goings-on. You’ll always see lots of fencers along the walls of competition venues with their clubs, often with banners hanging up to identify their specific organization.

If you need a more secluded space, for whatever reason, it’s absolutely acceptable to go out into the venue and look for something that works for you. A wide hallway might feel easier for you when you’re stretching or doing other prep work as part of your warmup.

Should you go out into the space and away from the tournament, like some presumably unused room, make sure to ask someone from the venue if you’re permitted to be in the space. This isn’t just because you want to follow the rules – it’s much more selfish than that. Also, you’re unlikely to get into any real trouble for warming up somewhere that you shouldn’t be. The reason to ask and follow the rules is so that you don’t break your concentration and end up hurting yourself later in the competition.

It can be rattling to have someone come and tell you that you’re doing something wrong, then have to adjust your space and start your warmup all over again, only this time with extra stress. That’s never worth it. 

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