Art of Fencing, Art of Life

Starting Fencing as an Adult: Why It’s Worth It

Jere Bothelio, 2022 USA Champion in Veteran 70 Men's Epee. He started fencing as an adult

Recently we received a lot of calls from adults inquiring about starting fencing.

Is that even possible, they asked, isn’t this a skill that you must learn in your childhood to be able to be even remotely good? Can you compete as an adult?

The answer is simple – it’s never late to start fencing. And you might soon find yourself competing on local, regional, and even the national circuit.

Moreover, you can even compete against Olympians! Show me any sport, which you start at age 30, 40, 50, and beyond, and in which you can qualify to compete at the national level against World and Olympic Champions. Fencing is unique in that sense.

There are so many things that are so great and unique in fencing, from mental health to physical, that I accepted an invitation from Leon Paul and wrote an article about starting fencing as an adult. You can read it here.

[P.S., in the picture, our Adult Coach Jere Bothelio, earning his National Title in the Veterans 70 category and securing the #1 spot on the national team. Next week he competes in Croatia in the Veteran World Championship. Good luck, Jere! Jere started fencing in his adulthood, about 30 years ago. Since then, he has been on the rise.]


AFM Super Regional at Santa Clara Convention Center in November


Strip Warm Up Etiquette at Fencing Competitions


  1. R

    I ref with one of the pictured fencers – and who was my NAC roommate.

    I also had the great joy (and surprise) at beating an Olympian on my path to national team membership.

  2. Kevin

    Thanks for this great LP blog post! I started a year ago now, and it all rings true. I might add something that may or not fit into your pointers.

    I notice when adults question whether to start, the usual response is “Don’t expect to be an Olympian,” which is of course true. But one response I’ve seen that resonated with my trepidation when starting was, “You will lose to 13-year olds. Make peace with that.” I wonder if that is an underlying adult fear of trying something new, especially a sport with a heavy youth presence. It definitely flips the script to be in our 30/40/50’s taking pointers and following the lead of fencers in college, high school, or perhaps even younger.

    • R

      “‘You will lose to 13-year olds. Make peace with that.’…to be in our 30/40/50’s taking pointers and following the lead of fencers in college, high school, or perhaps even younger.”

      Or worse – to beat them and then their physicality and ability grows to enable them to beat you, as with then-teen/ later-USA Olympian Race Imboden when he was my 5’5″ or my current training mates as they progress from U- to A-classification.

  3. I’ve seen a drama series that featured lots of fencing sequences, and I wondered if I could still learn it even though I’m already an adult. It looks like it’s not too late to try.

    • Igor Chirashnya

      I don’t think you can learn any of the techniques from a movie, but you can definitely be inspired to start the sport and get the spirit. My advice is to find a local club and start taking lessons from their coach.

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