Beginners' FAQ

When can I start?
Introductory classes are held on the last week of each month. Call 813-485-6647 before you show up so that we can prepare. If you don't want to wait until the last week for the introductory lesson, you may come in at any time and pay for the month to start immediately. If you just want to just come in and watch, you may do so at any time.

Is fencing dangerous?
Just like everything else in the world, there is a direct relationship between fencing safety and common sense. Lapses in common sense result in "accidents". We highly recommend that whenever someone is brandishing a fencing weapon at you and is close enough to hit you, make sure your protective gear is on. Fencers have a very low tolerance for those who frequently suffer from lapses in common sense. Those who needlessly endanger others at TBF will find themselves looking for another fencing venue.

How much do you charge?
The fee is $10 per sessioin. So if you're attending once per week and if you want lessons scheduled, it would be $40 per month. If you are attending twice weekly, the prepaid fee is $80.

Is there anything that I have to sign when I join?
Yes, the registration form. You may print this form from our web site and fill it out. We usually have some during our session as well.

Do you have a minimum age?
The short answer is "No, we don't have a minimum age." The long answer is as follows. Since we only meet two times per week, the classes must be geared towards the average student i.e. ages 14 and higher. At this time, we do not have classes specifically for younger (ages 8-12) students. Younger students require a lot more attention at more basic actions simply because these young people are still very awkward at these ages. Furthermore, fencing instruction is somewhat technical and the experience of learning how to fence can be greatly enhanced and accelerated by exploring the sport and its techniques through reading books or via online resource. Because of this, older fencers tend to catch on much quicker than older fencers. Younger fencers must practice more of the basic actions for a longer duration than an older fencer. This is not to say that we don't younger fencers to join, we just want to set the right expectations. If a young fencer is patient and understands that this is a long-term undertaking, then success is just a matter of time. Nevertheless, the sooner they begin to learn to fence, the sooner they can become successful fencers.

What should I buy?
We will supply equipment on a very limited, first-come, first-served basis. If you do not own your own equipment, then you run the risk of having to share common equipment, using stuff that might not fit correctly or just going without. There is only one way to guarantee that you have equipment -- buy your own gear. The good news is that there are several vendors that offer complete starter sets for under $150.

Where can I get books on fencing?
The usual places: public library, local retail book stores, the Internet. Fencing equipment vendors typically carry books as well but better results can be found using or other similar online bookstores.

What should I wear to the introductory class?
Tops: a t-shirt will do. Something you don't mind sweating a lot in.
Bottoms: Recommended - baseball pants or long running pants. Shorts are ok, but not recommended after the intro class.
Feet: Wear socks please. Tennis shoes are good. Indoor court shoes are also a good choice. Cross-trainers do well. High-top style basketball shoes are not appropriate for fencing.

When and how do I start competing in USFA-sanctioned events?
Short answer: Worry about learning how to fence, first.
Long answer: Anyone can start competing if you simply 1) Join USFA, 2) Purchase all the equipment necessary 3) Fulfill all the registration requirements of the tournament -- usually filling some form and sending money before a deadline. Generally speaking, if you've been taking lessons for less than a year, but still feel compelled to compete don't expect to place high. On the other hand, there are a lot of opportunities for fencers of all ages and can be great learning experiences for youth fencers. In the Central FL Division, it is common to have about a tournament per month during the season.