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Do I have to be a student of the university?

No! We are a public club open to all those who wish to learn.

What time is training at?

Our main training session is held every Wednesday from 6.00pm to 8.00pm though occassionally we will also have a couple of hours on a Monday or Tuesday for anyone feeling particularly keen!

Is there an age restriction?

Not really. The kit provided by the club is sized for seniors but really anyone from about 12 to 112 is welcome to come!

Why should I join?

Clubs and societies are great ways to meet new people, and can be particularly helpful for first years. UUC Fencing Club puts an emphasis on the social aspect of the club, and many former members still help out.

How much does it cost to get involved in fencing?

At Coleraine Fencing Club we value encouraging everyone of all ages, experience and fitness to come and enjoy the sport of fencing. Which is why, unlike other university clubs, the Fencing club has NO session fee! And because the club provides all your equipment and coaching free of charge, all it will cost is your membership and Student Union insurance which come to £25, making UUCFC the cheapest fencing club in the country!

Does it hurt?

You would think that it might, but if done properly it doesn't. The primary sources of injury in fencing are from pulled muscles and joints. We begin every session with a rigorous warm-up and series of stretches which minimize these occurrences. Reckless and overly aggressive fencers can occasionally deliver painful blows. Always wear proper protective gear to reduce this risk. These are supplied by the club, and must be worn during training and competitions. You will be instructed on how to check your equipment for damage before use.

What do I wear?

Casual and beginner fencers can rely on cotton or synthetic jackets, but should wear a plastron for extra protection. Track pants are also thrifty alternatives to genuine fencing clothing, although they afford little protection.

Most jackets are left- or right-handed. Women are expected to wear shield like breast protectors.

During training, breeches are optional - all other safety equipment and clothing is mandatory however.

What is the best weapon for a beginner to start with?

Foil is the most common starter weapon. It is an excellent weapon to begin with if you have no preferences or want to learn generalized principles of sword fighting. Transitions to the other weapons from foil are relatively straight forward.

Foil is an abstracted form of fencing that emphasizes proper defense, and cleanly executed killing attacks. Historically it was a training weapon for the small sword, so it is well suited for the purposes of learning. However, it is far from a simple weapon, and many experienced fencers return to foil after trying the others.

How long does it take to become good?

If you want to take your fencing further, our coaches will help and encourage you all the way.

A dedicated novice who practices twice per week will be ready to try low-level competition in 3-6 months. Competition at this point should be viewed as a learning aid, not as a dedicated effort to win.

Serious attempts at competing will be possible after 2-3 years, when the basic skills have been sufficiently mastered that the mind is free to consider strategy.

A moderate level of skill (eg. C classification) can take 3-5 years of regular practice and competition.

Penetration of the elite ranks (eg. world cup, A classification) demands three to five days per week of practice and competition, and usually at least 10-15 years of experience.

Progress can be faster or slower, depending on the fencer's aptitude, dedication, and quality of instruction. Rapid progress normally requires at least three practices per week, and regular competition against superior fencers.

What qualities make a good fencer?

There are many.

On the athletic side, speed and endurance must rank foremost. Other traits that can be exploited are strength (for explosive speed, not heavy handedness), precision, and flexibility. Quick reaction time=20 is extremely important.

On the intellectual side, a good mind for strategy and tactics is essential. The ability to quickly size up your opponent and adapt your style accordingly is essential.

Psychologically, a fencer must be able to maintain focus, concentration, and emotional level-headedness under intense conditions of combat. Stress management, visualization, and relaxation techniques are all helpful to putting in winning performances.

As far as body type goes, it is always possible to adapt your style to take advantage of your natural traits. Even so, height seems to be useful in epee, but not necessarily in sabre. Small or thin people are harder to hit in foil. A long reach helps in epee, and long legs are an asset in foil.

It should be noted that left handers usually enjoy a slight advantage, especially against inexperienced fencers. This may account for the fact that lefties make up 15% of novice fencers, but half of FIE world champions.

I have other questions!

If there's something else we haven't covered here please get in touch and let us know!