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Competitive Fencing
When should someone begin competing?
It is best to start competitions when you feel you are ready to take the competition seriously. You should have a good understanding of the footwork, distance, simple attacks, and parries. There are competitions for novices and advanced fencers of all ages. If you are interested in competing speak to your coach.
What is required for Competitions?
1. Club, National or/and International Fencing Federation (FIE) membership: This gives you the opportunity to participate in tournaments around the World.
2. You will need a full set of electric equipment and we would recommend at least one back-up weapon. Please ask your coach for further details.
How a Competition Works
Fencing tournaments vary in format, and include individual and team competitions. A tournament may include all three weapons, both individual and team, or as in an Épe Challenge, individual pe only. Men and women compete separately in high-level tournaments. Mixed-gender tournaments are commonplace at lower levels, especially those held by individual fencing clubs. An individual event consists of two parts: pools and direct eliminations. Each fencer is assigned to a pool, typically with 6 others. Every fencer fences everyone else in the pool. If the number of fencers competing is not a multiple of seven, one or more pools adjust to six or eight members. After the pools are finished, the fencers are given a ranking, or seed, versus other fencers in the tournament, based primarily on their winning percentage, and secondarily on the difference between touches made and received. Once seeding completes, direct elimination starts. Fencers are sorted in a table. High seeds typically receive a bye, while lower seeded players fight for the right to compete against them. For example, if a tournament has 31 entrants, the fighters compete in pools of 7, 8, 8 and 8. The top player gets a bye in the first round, while the other players compete. After the first round, the 15 winners advance and the top seed joins the fray. Typically the losers of the semi-final round both finish third.
Team competition involves teams of three fencers. A fourth fencer acts as an alternate, but only one substitution is allowed. The modern team competition is similar to the pool round of the individual competition. Each fencer plays each member of the opposing team, totaling nine matches. Matches are three minutes long, or to 5 points. Points carry into the next bout, thus making it a forty-five touch bout fought by six fencers. Unlike individual tournaments, team tournaments almost always fence for third.
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