Art of Fencing, Art of Life

Fencing Club Affiliation: Get it Right BEFORE Summer Nationals

Fencing Club AffiliationEvery fencing club in the country spends its last weeks of June preparing for Summer Nationals. Camps, extended lessons, working and preparing weapons, plus a lot of logistics coordination are all part of the final steps. Just like everyone else, we’re in the thick of this preparation, though logistics are in some sense easier for us it is for foreigners, nonetheless there is still so much to prepare.

As part of our club preparation we review all the lists of participants, and attempt to double check with their parents to ensure that everyone knows all of the registration times, where they need to go, and much more. Despite the fact that we went so far as to write an entire book to help new fencing parents to prepare to summer nationals, there are still a lot of questions that parents have.

Division and Club Affiliation

As I’m working on updating the lists and check-in times of our club members, one thing that I notice most often is that many students have listed the wrong affiliation and/or division. This is true not only for our new fencers, but also surfaces as a situation with many other fencers around the country.

It is absolutely essential that your fencer has both division and club affiliation correctly reflected in their current status.

There are many reasons for this.

First and foremost, the initial seeding at fencing competition is done in a matter that tries to minimize the amount of conflicts in the pools. What does that mean?

  1. Clubmates will be try to be separated into different pools
  2. Members of the same Division will be try to be separated into different pools.

The major reason behind this controlled separation is to prevent any attempt to “fix” any bouts during the pools (which we are sure you never do!), but as an additional bonus you get to fence with people from other parts of the country with which you typically do not get to  fence with at your local circuit of competitions.

For some big divisions with hundreds of fencers, separating clubmates might be completely sufficient. However in other, smaller divisions, with only handful of fencers knowing each other quite well,  definitely there is a need for separation by division as well.

Since you do not want to get into the pools with your clubmates, or with fencers from your division, especially if it is very small one (and you should not), updating your club affiliation and correcting your division is really needed.

Strip Coaching Coordination

There is additional benefit to keeping your fencing club affiliation updated, which you will realize at the tournament. The software that USFA uses for tournament management is called Fencing Time. As part of the software, it allows everyone to view strip assignments per either individual name or club name. And that makes your life and the life of coaches, parents and supporters much easier. One glance to the screen will allow everyone to locate where the fencers from your club fence. Strip coaching coordination, especially with multiple concurrent events, is far more efficient.

It’s SO easy to update your fencing club affiliation!

If you haven’t done so yet, update your club and your division.

  1. Login to your account.
  2. From the first screen of your profile click on the “Add club” link.
  3. Find your club, choose it as your primary club.
  4. Save the changes.

If you cannot do it yourself from your profile, email the request to Membership Services at and they will assist you.

You’ll be incredibly thankful that you updated your fencing club affiliation once you get to Summer Nationals! As always, good luck!

Fencing Club Affiliation


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  1. L Mao

    Did USA Fencing reconfigure the online member services page to allow you to make revisions on your own? I have had to change both division and club representation, after designating them when first setting up the account. Both times I had to e-mail Membership Services and ask them to make the changes. It was my understanding that, once you pick a division and club for the season, you cannot change them yourself by accessing your account online. Which isn’t really a problem since Membership Services has always been responsive and helpful on this score.

    • Igor Chirashnya

      For most of new fencers their club affiliation does not exist. For these fencers logging into account and choosing a club would work just fine. I recently helped few of our new fencers to do that. However, it might require emailing to the Membership Services to request a change if doing so from your profile is not possible.

  2. L Mao

    Just logged in and did a quick check to see whether it was possible to change the division and club representation online, after they are already set. The answer is no. So choose wisely the first time you do this. Or you too will be e-mailing Membership Services to request they fix your mistake. 🙂 For those located in the bay area, please note that clubs south of SF are located in the Central CA division. No one told me this when I signed up for USA Fencing membership, so naturally I chose Northern CA for the division, thinking Central included cities like Fresno (which is actually in the Mountain Valley Division). Then it stayed like that for two years because I couldn’t figure out how to change it.

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