FAQ For Prospective Fencers
Can I try fencing before I commit?
Yes. AFC offers these trial options:
- Youth: Attend a trial class as AFC's guest on one of our regularly-scheduled free-trial days. Free-trial dates are typically offered at the start of the season (September) and at the start of the calendar year (January). We also schedule free trials directly with prospective fencers throughout the season. Contact us for details. We do not do free trials for youth fencers during the summer (May-Aug).
- Adult: Attend the first day of one of our adult beginner classes on a trial basis. After this first session, if you decide the class isn't for you, there is no charge. (This offer is limited to the first session of an adult beginner course; fencers returning for additional classes are expected to pay.)
What does it cost to fence?
Adult beginners can take our 6-week introductory course for $100.
For youth fencers of all levels, and continuing adult fencers, AFC's fees work like a health club. You pay an initial enrollment fee, then monthly dues.
- Enrollment fee: $100 for new fencers. When you enroll you are given your own fencing jacket and glove, to keep.
- Monthly dues: $100/month, regardless of how many classes you attend. Most of our classes meet twice per week, and once fencers have mastered some basics, they can join any of our open fencing sessions as part of their membership.
How old do I have to be to start?
7 or 8 is the youngest age for our fencers to start. Our youth classes are fun and include activities appropriate for very young athletes, but a good attention span and the ability to follow directions is essential. If you're not sure whether your child is ready for fencing, come in for a free trial class, and our coaching staff can assess your child's readiness.
There is no upper age limit to fencing. Some AFC fencers are in their 70s.
When are the classes?
Classes for new fencers are offered September through May. See the individual Youth Fencing Classes or Adult Fencing Classes pages for class days and times.
Do I have to buy a lot of equipment?
No. When you become an AFC member, you are given your own fencing jacket and glove, which are yours to keep (fencers in the adult beginner classes are loaned jackets and gloves). AFC lends you all the rest of the equipment you'll need - masks, foils, electric equipment, etc. Over time, fencers who intend to fence regularly and/or compete are expected to obtain their own equipment.
See AFC's Equipment Guide when you are ready to start buying your own gear. Links to vendor sites are included here.
What if I want to buy my own equipment? Where can I get it?
There are a number of online fencing equipment providers you can use. Also from time to time equipment vendors will attend *major* fencing tournaments in Austin, where you can see the equipment first-hand and try it on. Contact AFC if you'd like to know which tournaments are likely to have an equipment vendor on-site.
See AFC's Equipment Guide for more info.
Recommended online vendors include:
Blue Gauntlet Fencing
Absolute Fencing Gear
The Fencing Post
Alliance Fencing Equipment
Leon Paul USA
I'm an experienced fencer. What options do you have for me?
AFC's open fencing sessions frequently have A, B, and C rated fencers in attendance. In addition to open fencing and our regular class offerings, AFC offers an invitation-only competitive class on Saturday mornings. There is an additional monthly fee for the competitive class.
Isn't fencing dangerous?
No. Fencing is less dangerous in terms of injury rates than traditional sports like baseball, football, or volleyball. Fencers wear high-quality safety equipment to protect them from blade contact. Because fencing is a non-contact sport, injury rates are much lower than in many other sports.
This Scientific American article on Olympic sports injuries shows that fencing has a lower injury rate than even table tennis and curling.
Can I take private lessons instead of a class?
Private/individual lessons are offered on a limited basis by our AFC coaching staff. Private lesson slots are subject to coach availability. In general, first priority for individual lessons goes to nationally competitive AFC fencers.
I'm visiting Austin. What's the visitor policy?
Non-members may fence at AFC for a $15/night floor fee if they are in one of these categories:
- Fencers visiting from outside of the Austin area who wish to train temporarily at AFC for a limited time.
- A or B rated fencers, or any fencer who is a member of a US National team.
- Fencers who have been expressly invited to train at AFC by the AFC board or coaching staff for special, limited training sessions