2020 COVID19: doing our best to survive an epee-demic.

Update as of 07/11/2020

With some facilities reopening and the pace at which activities are resuming, it is clear now that the Cincinnati Recreation Commission is unable to prioritize outside contractors and organizations.

They are tasked with the important work of caring for children, especially where the economic need is the greatest, and have bent all their efforts towards safety and care.

There is no clear expectation of what will happen in months to come, but it seems safe to assume that we will be looking at months, not weeks until anything develops.

Everyone is eager to get back to it, but it's important that we are thoughtful, careful, and thorough in our methods and policies returning. Please read below for the outlines of our efforts to return to fencing around current limitations.

Be safe and healthy!

partnering with nkfa

Due to their unique issues, NKFA has been unable to reopen and was anticipating not being able to get back to the strip until sometime in August or possibly later. Since their dedicated fencing space was sitting vacant, we met and worked out a deal to bring our two clubs together.

Over the last few weeks, we've been holding limited classes to return to a focus on footwork, hand drills, and conditioning.

All activities are being done with as much spacing as possible and masks are being used at all times when students are not in designated "break spaces" for drinking water, etc.

We are meeting Tuesday and Thursdays from 7pm - 8:30pm, with plans to extend hours as we feel appropriate going forward.

Masks required

A big part of what we are working on is the integration of wearing masks while fencing. It is not immediately apparent how much exercising changes with the addition of the mask and the reduction in airflow when breathing.

We've been gradually rolling out programming taking time to make sure that we all have good breathing practices and are aware of how our bodies are responding to exertion.

We have found that thin cotton, thin mesh, paper disposable, and foam covers (like the one in the picture) seem to give the best breath-ability.


We are restricting the number of participants to allow ourselves the best opportunity to maintain distance between persons while working out.

At present we are reserving 5 seats for NKFA fencers and 5 seats for CFC or other drop in fencers. Drop in fencers are $10/class.

We are using a site called setmore.com to manage the attendance list and payments for classes can be made online at the time you reserve your slot.

If you have any questions or if classes are full, email me at nate@wsframing.com

care and caution

Getting back to business as usual is going to be a long way off.

As fencers, we have always been taught safety and respect for each other above all else. This trial that we are engaged in right now is a test of our core tenants and values.

By putting in the time and the effort, we will discover how to thrive in our sport, regardless of the impediments that stand in our way. We will guard each other's health and well being. We will work together to better others, that they will help us better ourselves.

As steel sharpens steel, we will return honed and ready.


paying attention to the rusting blades so they will be ready for our rusting bodies!

The state of Ohio is continuing to restrict movement and activity and the reality of life without fencing is really starting to settle in. While many, many folks are going over work outs and virtual meet ups that support all kinds of communities, I was trying to think of something useful that we often don't make time for....

So I've been thinking about armory!

There is always MAINTENANCE that needs doing

When we are splitting our time between family, school or work, fencing, and other activities; it can be hard to find time to do all the little things that we know we should be doing.

Seeing how many tip screws we have left, repairing stitching on garments, cleaning rust of our blades, checking calibration of electrical equipment, and update our repair kits are all great things to do! And with no fencing practice, it's a great time to tackle some of those rainy day projects!

Ultimately, I will move all this to a page about upkeep and armory, but for now, I'm just going to be putting these up as blog style posts as I have time.

Let's get our gear all cleaned up!

The kit

So, I have multiple tool kits of varied supplies. The tools needed for rewiring blades are very different from what I want when I'm on the strip at tournaments. This kit on the left, unpacked on the right, is my everyday load for when I'm at practice or tournaments.

I keep three different styles of micro flat head screw drivers for tip screws and one very small phillips head for sockets and body cords. An Altoids tin and small ziplock bags for screws, springs, tips, etc is a great way to keep them contained and when open can be used to catch pieces when disassembling your weapon... especially when you are doing it sitting on the floor between bouts!
Superglue to replace any small breaks or loose bits. You never know when a wire might pop out of the channel on the blade and need to be stuck back down before getting broken.Lock-tite (or superglue) is a good addition to any and all screws to keep them from working their way loose when you are fencing. In epee, the socket in the bell is a great candidate for some lock-tite, as those screws cannot be tightened without disassembling the whole weapon.The lighter is important for making sure that the wires from the blade are totally stripped down to the metal. Sometimes there is a clear plastic coating on the wire that stops it from registering contact.
A wrench for tightening the barrel of the weapon.Electrical tape is always a good addition and can be the short term solution to many different electrical issues that you might run into.A good set of shims is important so you can make sure that your repairs are achieving the desired goals.The stack of washers is a personal favorite of mine that was a solution for calibrating spring tension, more on that later.
The multi-meter is the most important tool in the whole kit. It can tell you a whole bunch about what's going on with your gear, especially when you are trying to chase down a mystery problem that is being difficult.The multi-meter can measure many different kinds of electrical current, but here we are mostly looking at the ohms meter. Ohms are a measure of the electrical resistance of a circuit.Using this will show you if your wires and switches are in good shape, clean, and functioning correctly. It can also be instrumental in determining where there are problems if something isn't working correctly.

My favorite secret weapon!

the multi-meter

There are many different devices available for testing your electric, competition equipment. Most are fairly simple and feature two or three little lights that your gear plugs into, depending on the specific tester, you will see different combinations of lights based on the makers specification. These are easy to use, but also tend to be a little more expensive and they generally give non-specific information about the equipment's function.

I, however, like to use a multi-meter for testing equipment. An inexpensive, analog multi-meter will cost somewhere between $10 - $18. The tool will measure all kinds of different electrical systems, so has many uses outside of fencing as well!

Listed below is how to use this device for testing your fencing equipment.


A multi-meter will have a dial to select what kind of electrical energy you are measuring or what kind of test to run. For fencing, we'll be testing electrical resistance, which is the check for complete electrical circuits. On the device you will be selecting Ohms, which is the measure of resistance.

Maximum Ohms

With the multi-meter set to ohms, and with the probes separated, not connected, or connected to a broken circuit, you will have perfect resistance. That is to say that there is no electricity travelling from the positive to the negative probes. With epee, an unpressed tip will be an open circuit. In foil, the depressed tip will show this result.

minimum ohms

Here, the probes are connected, allowing electricity to pass unimpeded from the positive to the negative. This is showing that we have a closed circuit. This is how a point in epee will register, it is how foils show when the tip is not being pressed. For sabre, this is what you want to see for connection from your body cord socket to the blade.

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looking back, wistfully

I've been going back through old files, photos, and the like; riding on waves of nostalgia. I've pulled out some photos going back to 2014 when we were meeting at McKie recreation center while the Clifton rec was being renovated!

These are trying and difficult times for everyone, but it's important that this club has been around for a very, very long time. It is entirely thanks to the people in these photos, the instructors like Kim, Dale, Dick, Adam, and Nate; the officers of the club like Mike; the members of the club, both new to the sport and old to the club. We will bounce back. We will, together, overcome the challenge that is this disease and the necessary hardships that we endure so that we may all endure.

In the meantime, I hope you enjoy a little look back!

usfa membership and tournaments

USFA Memberships are required for all sanctioned fencing tournaments. Memberships renew in July and must be current for the following fencing year. You can follow the button below to the USFA Membership page to get your first membership or to renew your existing membership.

Competetive Fencing and Upcoming Tournaments

If you are excited to learn more about competition fencing, if you are looking for upcoming tournaments, or if you are looking for results from previous tournaments, then it is time to get acquainted with AskFred.net.

AskFred is a database open to the fencing community to organize tournaments, keep results and data about fencer's careers, and give a unified place for clubs to advertise their upcoming events!

For information on upcoming tournaments follow this link to see all tournaments "near" Cincinnati (AskFred is a little broad in it's definition of near): AskFred.net.

Check out this link for a search of tournaments with a limit of a 100 mile drive.

USFA Rating Chart

Academy of Fencing Masters Blog is a great resource for information by fencers and parents of athletes, talking about all the stuff that we all wonder about. Wonder no longer, start learning today!

The following link will take you to askfred.net for the explanation of how the ratings given out during a tournament are determined. USFA Ratings.

Also, this article goes into all the nitty-gritty of earning your ratings:

Fencer Ratings Made Simple