Eventually, Fencers will want to start keeping score - this is a contest, after all. We will start with 5 touch bouts, the first to score 5 is the winner. Touches can be scored by one fencer alone, or by both together. Strategy starts coming into play - if you're up 4-3, do you go for a double touch to win 5-4, or are you confident enough to stay calm and find your shot at a single to win 5-3? Bouts can't end in a tie, but we can have double touches. Should the score go to 4-4 and there is a double touch, the score remains 4-4, and the fencing continues until there is a single touch.

Next, we will introduce time limits; 3 minutes or 5 touches, whichever comes first.  Time is stopped after each touch. Until patience is developed, 5 touches will occur first.  If time expires before one side scores 5, the higher score wins. If the score is tied, a coin is tossed and one fencer will be declared to have Priority. A final minute is then fenced - the first single touch scored wins the bout. Double touches again do not count; the fencers restart from where they stopped. If time should run out before a single touch is scored, the fencer with priority wins.

Each bout starts with the fencers at their En Garde line, their mask tucked under their non-weapon arm. They salute each other, the Director, and the audience (3 salutes always). Each bout ends the same way - 3 salutes from the En Garde line with the mask under the arm, then a firm handshake with a "Thank you" in the middle of the strip while looking your opponent in the eye.

Tournaments are made of Pools and a Direct Elimination ladder. All the fencers are split up into pools of 5 or 6 or 7 each (organizers try to keep all pools the same size - some examples: 21 fencers, there would 3 pools of 7; 24 fencers, 4 pools of 6; 26 fencers, 2 pools of 6 and 2 pools of 7). Fencers are looked over by the bout Director to make sure they have all of their uniform, that there are no holes, and that names are on the jacket or knicker leg at bigger tournaments. Fencers in each pool are then paired up in a pre-determined order until all have fenced each other. At the start of each bout, the Director will inspect the weapons and body cords. After each bout, the Results are recorded on a Pool Score sheet. 

After the Pool is complete, the results are tallied, and the fencers review and sign the score sheet. The fencers are seeded into a DE ladder, first based on number of victories (# of victories divided by number of bouts); where there are ties "indicators" are used: the numbers of touches scored minus the number received. If indicators are tied, the higher number of touches scored is seeded higher. If still tied, lots are drawn to determine seed position.

DEs for those Age 12 and under (see below) are fenced as best 2 out of 3 five touch bouts, 3 minutes each bout, with 1 minute breaks between bouts.

For those age 13 and up, DEs are fenced to 15 touches over three 3-minute periods, with 1 minute breaks between periods.

Tournaments for Veterans only (age 40+) have DEs of 2 periods or 10 points.

Priority is used for ties, same as for pools. Tournaments are generally single elimination - if you lose, you're done, if you win, you continue. At smaller tournaments, the top 4 usually get a medal or prize (1st, 2nd, tie for 3rd). In larger tournaments, medals go to 8th place.

Competitions are hosted locally throughout the season in age groups similar to other sports – Y10, Y12, Y14, U16, U19, Senior (Y14 and up), and Veteran (age 40+) with Mens, Womens, and Mixed events.  Senior events limited by Rating allow similar skill levels to face off while Open events let all Senior ages mix it up.

Additionally, there are US Summer Nationals at the end of the season, where are National Champions are crowned.  (more will be added to discuss the Qualification path to fence at Nationals).

Click Here for even more tournament information!

Age ranges for competitions are broken out as follows, specific birth years are at USFA Fencing:Resources:Documents:Age-Requirements

Youth Y10 (8-9-10 years old)

Youth Y12 (Y10s may 'fence up' also) 

Youth Y14 (Y12s may 'fence up' also).  Y14 fencers who are 13 by Jan 1 of the season can fence Senior/Open/Unclassified/E-Under, D-Under, C-Under events.

Cadet/U16 (Y14s may 'fence up' also)

Junior/U19 (Y14s, Y16s may fence this also)

Senior/Open (Division 1, 1A, 2, 3) (open to all fencers who are 13 by Jan 1 of the season)

Veteran (Combined). Must be 40+ at Veteran World Cup (date varies, generallyl late summer/early fall)

Summer Nationals only: Vet 40-49

Summer Nationals only: Vet 50-59

Summer Nationals only Vet 60+

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