Central Florida Fencing

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Competition is a large part of the fencing experience. Tampa Bay Fencers is within the United States Fencing Association's Central Florida division. The Central Florida division encompasses the west-central portion of Florida including Orlando, Tampa Bay and Fort Myers. The fencing season generally follows school schedules-- starting each August and finishing with the National Championships held early summer. The North American Cup events (NAC) are held in various cities throughout the U.S. and represent opportunities for fencers to compete on a national level. Regionally, a fencing tournament can be found just about every month somewhere within the division or state.

The Unites States Fencing Association (USFA) is the national governing body for fencing as directly related to the Olympics. USFA provides the framework in which the U.S. can achieve greater successes in the world fencing community. Fencers of all ages can test their skills with other fencers by competing in USFA-sanctioned tournaments.

Depending on the the size of the tournament and who places in the finals, fencers are awarded classifications that indicate their level of competitive successes. Participation in the NACs and other national competitions provides fencers of all ages to accumulate points to bolster their national standings. Younger fencers can look forward to competing in the Junior Olympic Fencing Championships ("JOs"). Veteran fencers (ages 40+) can strive to compete in the World Veterans Championships held internationally as well as other Veterans events held throughout the U.S.

Ultimately, participating in USFA tournaments provides an excellent framework in which fencers of all ages can strive to achieve competitive success.

Participation is easy:

  1. Learn to fence.
  2. Join USFA.
  3. Learn the rules.
  4. Get your competition gear.
  5. Enter in a tournament.

"Hors d' concours"
Other ways to get involved at a competition

Fencing competitions require the involvement of many individuals to help organize and officiate the event. Here are some of the ways individuals can contribute to help in the success of a fencing event. (Links below are courtesy of United States Fencing Association's web site.)

Referee (formerly called "Director")
Referees controls the proceeding of a fencing bout and allocates the score according to current rules and regulations. Referees are classified by the level of competition they are certified to officiate. The lowest, level 10-rated referee is credentialed to officiate at the finals of an Unclassified competition. A level 1 rating allows the referee to officiate the finals of any North American Cup competition. The Fencing Official's Commission (FOC) is the governing body for the fencing referees.
Score-keeper
Assists the referee in keeping score. Records the allocation of points on the scoresheet.
Time-keeper
Assists the referee in keeping track of time elapsed during a fencing bout. Monitors and controls the time clock/stopwatch. Calls the final "Halt" to indicate that the time allocated to the bout has fully elapsed, thereby ending the bout. New rule as of August 2002: regular pool bouts are now 3 minutes long, not 4 minutes.
Armorer
If you enjoy putting together and repairing the fencing equipment, you might consider obtaining an armorer's rating. There is an Armorer's Commission that has a system of testing and certification. Check it out.
Tournament organizer
These folks crunch the bout score figures and come up with the standings and "tournament tree". This role requires knowledge of the Operations By-laws that concern the conduct of tournaments. It would also be useful to become familiar with XSeed, the software used by USFA for its national events.
Promotions and Communications
Tournaments often require folks who can help distribute flyers, make telephone calls, update web sites, send out emails, hand out notices before, during and after a competition. Events without folks who are responsible for the internal and external communications are destined to be poorly attended or poorly received.
Set-up/Clean-up crew
These are typically the tasks that nobody wants to do but have to be done, nevertheless. Volunteer for this to secure your spot in fencing heaven.