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Est. 1961

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This site aims to provide a wealth of information about fencing. There are links to other sites in case you don't find what you need to know.



SFC runs beginners' courses

Full details on the beginners' page

You are invited to come for a taster
At most times - at mutual convenience

Next Beginners' course 08/06/17
Contact us
For details


Junior classes

For details see
Juniors page


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Photo temporarily unavailable
Too late... I've already chopped your arm off! Nat. Vat's Sabre final '08 Photo: P. Baron


Answers to some of the questions you may ask and may have missed in the rest of the site


What is fencing about? Can I choose my weapon?
Where can I find other clubs? How do I start?
What do I need to start? What does it cost?
How much does equipment cost? Where can I buy it?
Is there an age limit? Where/when does the club meet?

After reading the answer to a question you can return to the contents list to select another question.

  • What is fencing about?

    Fencing is about fighting an opponent with a sword. There are three weapons:
    The sport is a formalised version of the duel. There is no swinging from chandeliers, sliding down banisters or defending with a chair. It was among the first sports chosen for the modern Olympic Games. It demands speed, agility, cunning, and endurance. It keeps you very fit! To find out more about the sport itself go to the Fencing Introduction page.

  • Can I choose my weapon?

    It depends partly on the club. Many clubs will start all their beginners with Foil. A very few will put one of the other weapons in your hand, without the option. However, starting with anything other than foil has become more complicated, since you would need a pair of breeches to comply with new regulations. Some clubs do provide breeches for hire. At Stourbridge we have normally given you the choice but now we start our beginners classes off with foil but can we can go some way to adapting the work if you are particularly keen to do one of the others. Would be pentathletes, for example would only be interested in doing Epée. Once you have done the basic course you can then swap/add weapons at any stage, once you have some breeches. Although some coaches do suggest you should stick to one weapon for a considerable period before trying another, we are happy for you to experiment at an early stage.

  • Return to questions

  • I like the idea but Stourbridge is too far. Where else can I fence?

    See the links page where there are links to local clubs, the West Midlands Region site and British Fencing, which has a complete list of affiliated clubs.

  • How do I start?

  • Most clubs run beginners' courses from time to time. Some allow newcomers a taster before they commit themselves, which is often free but not always.
    At Stourbridge we encourage beginners to take a beginners' course:
    The club runs beginners' courses fairly frequently to cope with demand - usually at the beginning of the school terms. It has nw also re-instated the practice of running taster sessions; so you can try it without even committing to any expense. Details of forthcoming taster sessios/beginners courses are given on the Beginners' page.

    Those who have fenced before are welcome to join at any time and those with current British Fencing or equivalent NGB* membership can, of course, start straight away. The procedure for those whose membership has lapsed is much the same as that outlined for those beginners in "2" above, unless they arrange to renew their membership first.
    Visitors are also always welcome, as long as their NGB membership is current.

    *NGB = National Governing Body

    Return to questions

  • What do I need to start?

    The club provides all necessary basic specialist equipment free of charge. We find, however, that once people are hooked, they are increasingly keen to buy their own quite quickly, for their own comfort and confidence. You will need breeches very shortly after joining, as these are a requirement for all except non-electric foil fencing. Most practice in the club is electric, so you would need them to participate fully. We do not provide them for logistical and hygiene reasons.
    In the meantime, you need non marking trainers. For your own comfort, they should preferably be designed for indoor sport such as squash or badminton (running shoes are not recommended). You need trousers you can move comfortably in (tracksuit, leggings, jeans, etc.) and a light, collarless/round collar top such as a T-shirt. You may also want a towel (possibly with a change of clothes/showering items) and a drink.

    A bit of enthusiasm, sense of adventure and a little patience are helpful too!

  • What does it cost?

    Subscriptions are surprisingly low compared with some activities, especially when taking into account the specialist equipment provided. One of the aims of the recent Awards for All grant was to keep them that way.
    If you haven't got a suitable pair of trainers, that is the only outlay you will need to make. Details of current club fees are on the Club details pages.

    Return to questions

  • How much is the equipment?

    Like everything else you can buy cheap and cheerful or pay more for something that is going to last/be more comfortable/etc. You probably would not want to buy top of the range stuff designed for the most exacting requirements of international fencing straight off. After breeches, a glove and/or a mask are the most likely early purchases. A reasonable quality glove suitable for all weapons is about £22.00 and a good mask around £80.00. Sadly masks for foil have just become more expensive as a result of new regulations governing the sport. Ladies also often find a full front chest protector a valuable early purchase, from around £27. Clothing in general is a much more useful purchase than weapons in the early stages of fencing. When you do buy one we recommend buying the electric version and they cost from about £47 from the quality suppliers.

  • Where can I buy the equipment?

    It cannot be bought in ordinary sports shops. There a number of suppliers who all operate mail order systems and, of course, these days, web shops. Many clubs will let you buy through them, saving on postage by making a bulk order. Advice is usually available from coaches and club members. Obviously this may be coloured by their personal preferences and possibly the convenience to them of supporting a particular supplier. British Fencing's web site has a list of suppliers. When you start going to competitions you will be able to see what the major suppliers have to offer, as there is normally an equipment stand.

    Return to questions

  • What is too young or too old?

    At Stourbridge, for organisational reasons, we have not been able to cope with under 10's. Additional coaching availability has meant we can, initially, offer a junior group, which is up and running, for 7 -12 yr olds (approx). We are hoping split junior fences up to the age of 14 into 2 groups, soon. We are happy to receive expressions of interest for either group. Those above 14 will continue to fence with the adults. See the new Juniors Page for details.
    There are already some clubs around the country that take children as young as 6 or 7.
    For the over 80's we might want to check out your zimmer frame for booby traps. On a more serious note, we don't, like in some continental countries, ask for a doctor's certificate to prove you're alive.
    We have a growing junior group with around a dozen 7-12's and several in the slightly older age range most of whom are now competing with some success.
    It is a sport you can take up later in life and do well enough at it to get a great deal of enjoyment from it. Additionally, there is a thriving Veterans Fencing scene for the over 40's - with those who take it very seriously going for European and World championships, with club members having been all over Europe and to places like the USA, Russia and Australia for such events - whilst, for the less zealous, there are also fun events, including some very entertaining trips abroad, to an esoteric selection of countries. One former member even went as far as Japan on such a trip. Some vets have made it as far as New Zealand. See British Veterans Fencing for details.

  • When & where does the club meet?

    The club meets on Thursday 7.30 - 10.00 p.m. (New junior group 6.30 - 7.45 p.m.)

    The directions include how to access the building and a site plan.