Is fencing safe?

Fencing is one of the safest sports in the modern world. The weapons are made to be non-lethal; fencing jackets, gloves, and masks are designed to prevent harm; and a plethora of safety rules and customs have been standardized and are upheld by every fencing organization in the world.

Furthermore, a study conducted at the University of Oslo discovered a surprising fact: Only 2.5% of fencers from the 2008 Summer Olympics suffered any injury. Based on that study, some of the sports that are more likely to cause injuries than fencing actually include soccer, handball, softball, basketball, volleyball, tennis, and ping-pong.

What are the health benefits of fencing?

Fencing is a full body workout that strengthens often-neglected areas like the lower back and knees. It's also great cardio: Fencing keeps the heart pumping at different rates. That provides a better workout than consistent motion exercise like running. As for young fencers, this sport can help kids and teens obtain problem solving skills, enhanced focus, improved reflexes, and confidence.

What does it take to fence competitively?

If you’re a new fencer, don’t worry too much about fencing competitively just yet. Fencing purely for fun or fitness is perfectly okay; not every fencer needs to become a world champion. But if you do have that competitive drive, you should be ready to practice a ton (even if you only compete locally). At the very least, we recommend taking two private lessons and attending two classes each week, participating in open fencing frequently, and practicing at home regularly. And, of course, you should invest in your own fencing gear.

You can learn all about the gear a competitive fencer needs by visiting our Equipment page.

What should I wear when I’m fencing?

If you wouldn’t wear it to the gym, you shouldn’t wear it when you’re fencing. In other words, fencers of any experience level should wear athletic shirts, sweats or leggings, and any sport shoe with good grip. Gym shorts are also acceptable, but the fencer wears them at the risk of minor cuts or bruises.

While competitive fencers must own a pair of fencing knickers, they are not required to wear them when practicing at Swordplay LA. But we do highly encourage wearing them if they’re new to you, if only so you can get used to fencing in them.

Do I need to buy my own fencing gear?

Swordplay LA does not require students to buy their own fencing gear. If it’s your first time fencing with us, you get to use all our gear for free! And once you start taking lessons or classes, you get access to our fencing gear and the facility by paying either a floor fee each time you come in or a membership fee at the beginning of the month.

 But if it turns out that you love the sport, we highly recommend investing in your own fencing equipment. Our in-house armorer and vendor, Sam Signorelli, can measure you and help you make a smart purchase. You can even buy your gear through him! 

How much does it cost to buy my own fencing gear?

The final cost of your fencing equipment depends on what brands you choose to buy. If you plan on fencing frequently or competitively, we recommend investing in high-quality fencing gear. If you only plan on fencing once a week, you can buy equipment of average quality.

 Just talk to our in-house armorer and vendor the next time you’re at the club to learn more about buying your own gear.

Which weapon should I choose?

In short, it depends. Some people only like one weapon, others like two of them, and yet others like all the fencing weapons. We encourage everyone to try each weapon at least once to determine which one suits them best. Generally speaking, however, Swordplay LA’s coaches advise most students to master the basics of one weapon before deciding to train with another one.

I’m differently-abled. Can I still fence?

Anyone can participate in and excel at this sport. Tim Weske, a current coach and founder of the club, once taught a blind boy to fence quite adeptly. Ben Campbell, one of our sabre coaches, regularly works with a student who has autism. And wheelchair fencing is a regular event at the Paralympics. If you want proof that differently abled fencers can be amazing, just check out this video.

How long does it take to make progress in this sport?

Everyone’s progression in fencing looks different. Some people have an almost supernatural talent and skyrocket in a handful of months; others need to work hard at it for years, but nevertheless become skilled fencers. More importantly, what makes for a “good” fencer is always relative: it depends on the person’s goals, who they’re competing against, which weapon they’re using (a good foilist isn’t necessarily a good saberist), and so on. And just like in everyday life, fencers can have good days or bad days on the strip.

In short, don’t worry too much about whether you’re a “good” or “bad” fencer. Just focus on what you want out of the sport and give your best to that goal.

Anything else I should know about fencing safety?

We’re glad you asked! You can watch this video for a few additional pointers.