We understand that you need to know more about our sport before allowing your child to participate. You can read our Child Safeguarding Statement here. We do have a Child Protection Policy as you might expect and those involved in training your children are subject to our Vetting Policy and our Code of Conduct for Coaches. There is also a policy covering photography of youth events.
Below are a few points about fencing and you should also feel free to contact us with any specific questions.
It inspires the imagination – it isn’t hard to imagine yourself as Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, or Jack Sparrow.
It’s for everybody
Unlike most other sports, there is no ideal body type for a fencer. How can that be? Winning at fencing is a combination of many things: the mind of a chess player (watching for your opponent’s openings), the face of a poker player (bluffing your opponent), the flexibility of a gymnast (good for lunging), the hand-eye coordination of a calligrapher (Zorro would not be able to Z without it), and the endurance of a marathoner (to win a tournament). No child or adult, for that matter, is going to come into fencing with all of these different attributes.
Encourages self control
Imagine standing there when a person suddenly moves quickly toward you with a sword pointed at you. What to you do? Tell your feet to move backwards, your hand to move your sword to block theirs, tell your mind to stop racing and think what you are going to do if you stop this attack. As a fencer, you will need to have the self-control to tell your body to handle these three different actions at one time. Compare this with other sports that have you just try to kick or hit a ball. The strategy and self-control is an afterthought. In fencing, self-control and body-control are what keep you from losing a point. Through fencing, your child will gain greater self-control and increase concentration. Soon enough, this self-control will begin to extend to other aspects of their life.
Each bout that your child fences starts in the same way: with a respectful salute of the sword to the opponent, to the referee, and to the audience. When fencing without referees, fencers are taught to acknowledge their opponents touches. At the end of the bout, there is a required handshake among opponents. Winning and losing gracefully is not only encouraged, it is expected, along with maintaining respect for the fencers and the referees.
Click here for our Code of Conduct for Young Fencers.
Don’t worry, the swords aren’t sharp. And the kids aren’t really trying to stab each other. Fencers score points and win matches when the blunt tip of their sword merely touches their opponent. They also wear plenty of protective clothing- cool mesh masks and padded white vests that make them look like something out of a Star Wars movie.
The very best age for children to start fencing is somewhere between 7 and 10 years old. However, in a sport that sees athletes win Olympic medals and World Championships into their late thirties, it is possible to reach a very high standard beginning as a teenager or even at college.
First, fencing helps children get fit, which is very important. Second, fencing helps children learn to pay attention and to develop their decision-making abilities. Fencers must make good, quick decisions. Fencing also helps children learn to release aggression in a controlled manner. It could be said that fencing is a lot like boxing, but without anyone getting hurt. It is also an indoor sport, which means your child can participate no matter what the weather is like outside.
And it’s important parents set the right tone: click here for Parents’ Code of Conduct
Clubs, coaches or parents interested in undertaking Safeguarding courses can look for local options on this Sport Ireland page.