As you know, we strongly believe that children should compete in the sport of their choice. However, fencing is quite a unique sport in a sense that there are rarely events for “novice” fencers, and definitely not in the Bay Area. The reason is simple—fencing is very niche sport and demand is insufficient to warrant leagues at different levels as is customary in some more mainstream sports.
As fencers get younger every day, we often see children at 6, 7, and 8 years old already starting their fencing careers. Why go far? My own children are in that age category! The youngest official fencing age category is 10 years old and under. For children that are in the beginning of their fencing careers and perhaps a bit younger than 10, competing with big kids can be challenging.
One day after one of the Y10 Bay Cups my 8-year-old son Adam suddenly said, “It’s so unfair! It’s a Y10 competition and I am only Y8!” After a lot of family discussions we decided that he did have a reasonable point, so we started to frantically look for Y8 competitions. Unfortunately the only ones we found on askFred were far away, with the closest being in Seattle. We signed up both of our Y8 fencers.
Now, with the two Y8 competitions behind us, I believe it was very wise (but rather quite expensive!) parental decision. I believe that fencing on a fair competitive field really boosted the confidence of both Adam and Noya, his twin sister. I’m very glad we took the time to travel to Seattle and Columbus because now they can bring that confidence back as they face older fencers at home.
As we have more and more fencers under nine years old both in our club and in the greater Bay Area, and after discussing with other parents of young kids, we have decided to establish a Y8 Mixed Foil and Epee tournament right here, in the heart of the Silicon Valley. We plan to have a couple such competitions every year. We have enough young fencers at AFM to have a nice sized Y8 fencing tournament, and I am sure parents from other clubs will want to sign up their little fencers as well.
The first AFM Open Y8 fencing tournament (two events: Y8 mixed foil and Y8 mixed epee) will be held on Sunday, May 3, 2015 at 10am.
If your fencer is in the Y8 category (born on or after 2006), sign him or her up – the link on askFred is here!