Parent’s Tournament Guide

Tournament Age Groups

Youth fencing tournaments are arranged by age in two-year increments. The competition year begins on August 1 and runs until July 31 of the next calendar year.

The first age category is Youth 8 (Y8). It is for fencers who are 8 years old or younger on January 1 of the competition year. As an example, if a youngster turns 9 in February they can continue to fence in Y8 through July 31 because they were still 8 as of January 1. The other categories are Y10, Y12, Y14, Cadet (16 and under), and Junior (20 and under). In order to fence in a tournament the fencer must hold “competitive” membership in the United State Fencing Association ( USFA.)

Here some tournament acronyms: 

  • SYC = Super Youth Circuit for Y8, Y10, Y12, Y14
  • RYC = Regional Youth Circuit for Y8, Y10, Y12, Y14
  • RJCC = Regional Junior/ Cadet Circuit (under 17) and Junior (under 20)
  • ROC = Regional Open Circuit for Open, Division 1A, Division 2, Division 3
  • NAC = North American Circuit

What is strip coaching? 

Strip coaching is when the fencing coach stands near the strip during the match, or a “bout”, and helps the fencer make tactical and technical adjustments to maximize performance. Typically, a fencer competes in 8 to 10 matches during a tournament. The bouts are short and can vary dramatically, so it is important to have a coach by your strip. The coach’s advise might consist of only a single word to remind the fencer of something discussed in training, or it could be a complete shift in strategy. A strip coach is fundamentally important for any competitive fencer.

Tournament fencing requires the following equipment

  • Jacket
  • Electric jacket – also called a lame ( la-may)
  • Fencing knickers
  • Glove
  • Underarm protector
  • 2 body and 2 mask electrical cords
  • Fencing socks which cover the foreleg
  • 2 working weapons