FAQ's

Frequently Asked Questions


 

Who Can fence?

Answer

We welcome beginners, intermediate and competitive fencers from the age of seven years upwards at Cobham Fencing Club (the oldest fencer that I have heard of retired last year aged 94). We can provide individual lessons for children too young to join the club from the age of five. Men and women can train together on more equal terms than many other sports that are more strength orientated. Timing and technique are the overriding skills needed to succeed at fencing.

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How long before I can have a proper fight?

Answer

You will learn everything you need to know to have a proper practice fight in your first session. You will learn the on guard position, footwork, how to keep the correct distance and how to hit your opponent safely. You will then be able to have a practice fight and, depending on numbers and how quickly everyone has picked up the essentials, you may be able to fight on the electric scoring apparatus used in competitions.

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Do I need to be fit to learn to fence?

Answer

Fencing is not hard work straight away; there is a fair amount of technical stuff to learn, so you can fence at your own pace while you are getting to grips with the fencing moves. Once you have mastered the basic moves you will be able to push yourself harder, and will soon work up a good sweat and satisfying muscle ache! You will be amazed at how quickly you develop your fitness – fencing is so much fun you won’t even realise how hard you’re working!

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Do I need my own equipment?

Answer

You will need to wear stretchy tracksuit trousers (not thin leggings), a T-shirt and trainers (preferably with a rounded heel and a sole that is not too thick – between 1cm and 1.5 cm is perfect).

We will provide you with everything else you need for fencing, as follows:
Plastron; A half-under-jacket designed to provide a solid panel of protective material between the seam of your over-jacket and the delicate underarm.
Breeches; Which are particularly fetching trousers that stop below the knee and reach above the waist to ensure that you are fully protected by forming a large overlap between breeches and jacket.


Jacket; A full jacket that goes over your plastron and protects your torso and arms.
Glove; only needed on your sword-bearing hand, it has a long cuff that covers the sleeve of your jacket to prevent your opponent’s sword from up the sleeve. Your other hand is held out of the way while you are fencing so does not need protection.


Mask; A very tough mesh which protects your face and head from hits. Masks are tested by firing a bullet-type rod into the mesh to ensure they are strong and sound. Masks showing any signs of dents and/or rust are discarded and replaced.


Chest guard: Usually only used by ladies although some men like the extra protection. Made from moulded plastic in various sizes, they cover the chest area and furl under the arms to protect delicate areas!

Is fencing safe?

Answer

Yes, fencing is a very safe sport. The protective equipment has been developed to a very high standard to protect you from being hit with the metal swords used in fencing. The equipment we use at Cobham Fencing Club complies with all the recommended safety standards and is regularly maintained and checked to ensure it remains safe to use. Any equipment that is unsafe is destroyed and replaced.


Most hard hits occur when the wrong distance and/or technique is used for hitting. We ensure that all our fencers have a good understanding of the correct distance to attempt a hit, and have learnt the technique required to perform a hit correctly without causing discomfort to their opponent.


All our fencers are taught safe practice when handling swords, and any dangerous behavior is dealt with very strictly.

What should I wear for fencing?

Answer

You will need to wear stretchy tracksuit trousers (not thin leggings), a T-shirt and trainers (preferably with a rounded heel and a sole that is not too thick – between 1cm and 1.5 cm is perfect).


We will provide you with everything else you need for fencing, as follows:
Plastron; A half-under-jacket designed to provide a solid panel of protective material between the seam of your over-jacket and the delicate underarm.
Breeches; Which are particularly fetching trousers that stop below the knee and reach above the waist to ensure that you are fully protected by forming a large overlap between breeches and jacket.


Jacket; A full jacket that goes over your plastron and protects your torso and arms.
Glove; only needed on your sword-bearing hand, it has a long cuff that covers the sleeve of your jacket to prevent your opponent’s sword from up the sleeve. Your other hand is held out of the way while you are fencing so does not need protection.


Mask; A very tough mesh which protects your face and head from hits. Masks are tested by firing a bullet-type rod into the mesh to ensure they are strong and sound. Masks showing any signs of dents and/or rust are discarded and replaced.


Chest guard: Usually only used by ladies although some men like the extra protection. Made from moulded plastic in various sizes, they cover the chest area and furl under the arms to protect delicate areas!

Does it hurt when you get hit?

Answer

Not when the correct technique is used for hitting, and when the hit is only attempted at the correct distance. We take great care over teaching the correct distance and hitting technique so that you do not hurt each other. Occasionally you will receive a hard hit, but you will rarely end up with anything more than a small bruise.

What are the benefits of fencing?

Answer

Fencing is an amazing sport for improving fitness, specifically cardiovascular fitness, muscle tone, flexibility and strength. Areas targeted are the legs, bum, waist, arms and shoulders. The coordination needed for fencing is very different than other sports, which means that those not excelling at the commonly taught ‘school sports’ have the opportunity to practice on more equal terms with others.
Men and women can practice on more equal terms than most sports where strength is a large factor, as the important elements of fencing are technique and timing.
Fencing is particularly beneficial for children. They learn a high level of discipline and responsibility as this is imperative in a class where children are using swords! They also develop independence as fencing is predominantly an individual sport, as well as improving their confidence and leadership skills when they learn to referee, and enforce rules and regulations on their peers. Fencers also learn teamwork as there are occasionally relay team matches at major competitions and we practice these from early on in a fencers’ career, not least because they are great fun!

Why do the adult classes overlap with the junior courses?

Answer

We want to make the most of the time in the gym and maximize your fencing time. We have overlapped the classes so that while the children are finishing their session with a game (which only needs half the gym) the adults can arrive and start warming up in the other half of the gym. We also think it is important that our two groups of fencers have a chance to see each other in action and get to know each other as club-mates.

What happens after I complete the beginner course?

Answer

After you have completed your Beginner course you will be invited to attend an Intermediate course where you will build upon the techniques you will have learnt so far and add new, more advanced moves to your repertoire. You will learn more about how to apply your fencing moves in fights and develop more tactical know-how. We will also show you how to improve your fencing-specific fitness with strength and conditioning exercises and speed and coordination drills.
After your Intermediate course you will be able to join the club as a full member, and receive individual lessons within the club sessions in order to build your confidence. When the time is right we will suggest competitions for you to enter if you wish to take your fencing to the next level.

Why doesn't Cobham Fencing Club offer taster sessions?

Answer

Fencing gets more and more fun the more you learn. Although we hope that you will enjoy your first lesson, there is a fair amount to learn before you can really see how enjoyable fencing can be.

How can I take my fencing to the next level following the beginners course?

Answer

You will be invited to join the club where we will continue helping you to improve your fencing. As a full member of Cobham Fencing club you will be able to train on club nights, taking part in warm-up, footwork and fitness sessions, as well as benefiting from technical workshops and training fights on the electric scoring apparatus. We will also be able to help you if you want to further your fencing career by entering competitions or taking on extra training. You will be invited to take part in friendly matches with other clubs, and any other events organised by the club. You will also be eligible for discounted individual lessons.