Update on sports fencing classes – Summer 2018

OCRA Fencing and Archery Day, Easter 2018As the usual Summer break draws near, it’s worth a quick review of our session structure…

We’re in a transitional phase right now with sports fencing in the Okehampton area; our previous intake of teenagers has moved on to exams and college; I am looking to the best way to re-launch in the Autumn.

The remaining juniors’ session, Tues 5-6pm, is 8-11 yr olds working through British Fencing badges; this I am also looking to re-launch in September.

If I can re-establish a 12-16 age group, then I would mostly run it as an ongoing session following school term dates; I am looking at best weekday/time slots and possibly Saturdays. The after-school slot between 3.30 and 5pm had limited success so my personal preference is 5 or 6pm start weekdays, or Saturday morning/lunchtime. Your thoughts appreciated .

The adult group has moved from sports fencing to historical swordplay; there is a 16yrs minimum age owing to insurance limits.

The beginners’ path

I have equipment to get folks started over the first couple of terms, while they decide which weapons to fence long term and maybe get to a couple of novice competitions. British Fencing is most insistent of membership for competitions (partly for insurance, partly to get cash out of anyone they can!). You can find the membership costs on the British Fencing website; there are several levels for recreational and competition. I don’t pressure people into competition, they go if they want that level of challenge, with my support, but I can’t always accompany folks to fixtures.

If you intend to keep going (especially in competition), then you would want to start acquiring your own kit, either item by item or in a starter set if budget allows (The Fencing Shop is one of several suppliers doing reasonable beginners’ kit I have used).

Costs will depend on whether I am running sessions as West Devon Swords or under OCRA’s sports charity umbrella, and what venue costs I need to cover; we’re looking at about £5 per session for the coming season with discounts for block-payment. A bit vague at this stage, but we’re trying to keep things affordable. Depending on numbers attending I aim to cycle through a few individual lessons each week in addition to group classes as part of the fees.