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Sabre Fencing FAQs

Becoming a sabre fencing referee involves a process of training, education, and certification to ensure that you have a deep understanding of the rules and regulations of the sport and can effectively officiate fencing matches. Here are the general steps to become a sabre fencing referee:

  1. Become a Fencer: Many sabre fencing referees start their journey as fencers themselves. While this is not a strict requirement, having a background in fencing provides a solid foundation for understanding the sport’s rules and nuances.
  2. Join a Fencing Organization: To become a referee, you’ll often need to become a member of a recognized fencing organization or federation in your country. In the United States, this would be USA Fencing.
  3. Attend Referee Seminars and Clinics: Fencing organizations typically offer referee seminars and clinics to train and educate aspiring referees. These events cover the rules, hand signals, and the mechanics of refereeing. Attend as many of these seminars as possible to gain knowledge and experience.
  4. Learn the Rules: Study and familiarize yourself with the rules of sabre fencing. This includes not only the basic rules but also the nuances and interpretations that apply to sabre. You may need to pass written tests on the rules.
  5. Gain Practical Experience: Gain practical experience by officiating at local and regional fencing tournaments. Starting with smaller events allows you to learn and refine your skills while working with experienced referees.
  6. Apprenticeship: In some cases, you may need to serve as an apprentice under an experienced referee. This mentorship allows you to observe, learn, and receive guidance from an established official.
  7. Pass Certification Exams: Fencing organizations often require referee candidates to pass practical and written exams to demonstrate their knowledge and officiating abilities. These exams may include a test of your understanding of the rules, hand signal recognition, and a practical assessment where you referee actual bouts.
  8. Gain International Experience (Optional): If you aspire to become an international sabre fencing referee and officiate at international events, you’ll need to work your way up through the ranks of national and international tournaments. This often involves attending additional seminars, gaining experience at higher-level events, and achieving higher referee certifications.
  9. Stay Current: Fencing rules can change, so it’s essential to stay up-to-date with the latest rule changes and interpretations through ongoing education and training. Seek Appointments: Once you become a certified sabre fencing referee, actively seek opportunities to officiate at various tournaments, including local, regional, national, and international events.
  10. Maintain Your Certification: To maintain your referee certification, you may need to continue attending seminars, officiating at events, and renewing your certification periodically as required by your fencing organization.

Becoming a sabre fencing referee takes dedication, time, and ongoing commitment to the sport. It’s a rewarding way to contribute to the fencing community while deepening your knowledge and appreciation of sabre fencing. Be sure to check with your local fencing organization or federation for specific requirements and opportunities available in your region.

Competing in international cadet (under-17) fencing competitions requires adherence to specific rules and guidelines established by international fencing organizations, such as the International Fencing Federation (FIE). These rules ensure fair play and safety for all participants. Here are some key rules and considerations for competing in international cadet fencing competitions:

  1. Age Eligibility: Competitors in cadet competitions must meet the age eligibility criteria, typically between the ages of 13 and 16 or 17, depending on the specific competition rules. Age requirements can vary, so it’s essential to check the regulations for each event.
  2. FIE / EFC License: Fencers often need a valid FIE license to participate in international competitions. This license is obtained through the national fencing federation and is necessary for registering for international events. For Cadet tournaments you need to get an EFC license whereas for Senior and Junior tournaments, you need an FIE license.
  3. Equipment: Fencers must ensure that their fencing equipment, including masks, jackets, gloves, sabres, body cords, and lame connectors, complies with the rules and safety standards set by the FIE and the competition’s organizers.
  4. Fencing Attire: Fencers are required to wear the appropriate fencing attire, which includes a fencing mask, jacket, glove, breeches, and fencing shoes. These items must meet safety and equipment regulations.
  5. Registration: Fencers must register for international cadet competitions through their national fencing federation and adhere to registration deadlines. Entry fees are typically required.
  6. Proof of Identity: Fencers may be required to present proof of identity, such as a valid passport, during registration and competition to confirm their age and nationality.
  7. Coaches and Team Officials: Coaches and team officials accompanying fencers to international competitions must also meet specific registration and credentialing requirements set by the event organizers and the national federation.
  8. Safety Rules: Fencers must follow safety rules and guidelines, including proper conduct during matches, wearing protective equipment, and adhering to the referee’s instructions.
  9. Pool Rounds: Cadet competitions often begin with a series of pool rounds. Fencers are divided into pools, and each fencer faces every other fencer in their pool. The results from these pool bouts determine seeding for the direct elimination rounds.
  10. Direct Elimination Rounds: After the pool rounds, fencers progress to direct elimination rounds, where they compete in one-on-one bouts. The winner advances to the next round, and this process continues until a winner is determined.
  11. Scoring: Cadet sabre fencing typically follows the rules of sabre fencing, where valid target areas are the entire upper body, including the head, arms, and torso. Touches are scored based on the priority rule, where the fencer who initiates an attack is awarded the point if both fencers score a valid touch simultaneously.
  12. Behavior and Sportsmanship: Fencers are expected to display good sportsmanship, respect for opponents, coaches, and officials, and follow the code of conduct outlined by the organizing body.
  13. Anti-Doping Regulations: Fencers must adhere to anti-doping regulations and may be subject to drug testing during international competitions.

It’s important to note that specific rules and regulations may vary from one international cadet competition to another, and they are subject to change over time. Fencers and their coaches should always review the competition’s official rules and guidelines provided by the organizing body and the FIE to ensure compliance and proper preparation.

The Fédération Internationale d’Escrime (FIE), or the International Fencing Federation, sets standards and regulations for sabre fencing equipment to ensure safety, fairness, and consistency in the sport. Here are the FIE standards for sabre fencing gear:

  1. Sabre:
    • The sabre must meet specific size and weight requirements set by the FIE.
    • It has a flexible blade designed for both cutting and thrusting actions.
    • The hilt consists of a bell guard, grip, and pommel.
  2. Fencing Mask:
    • The fencing mask must provide sufficient protection to the fencer’s head and face.
    • The mask should have a metallic mesh that covers the front and sides of the head.
    • It must be securely fastened with a strap to ensure it stays in place during bouts.
  3. Jacket (Lame):
    • The fencing jacket, also known as a lame, must be made of conductive material to register valid touches.
    • It should cover the upper body, including the arms and torso.
    • The jacket should fit securely to prevent gaps that can be exploited by opponents.
  4. Glove:
    • Fencing gloves are worn on the hand that holds the sabre.
    • The glove should provide adequate protection for the fingers and hand.
    • In sabre fencing, a cuff that covers the wrist area is required.
  5. Plastron (Underarm Protector):
    • Underneath the fencing jacket, fencers wear a plastron, which is a protective garment that covers the non-weapon arm and the upper torso.
    • It provides an extra layer of protection.
  6. Breeches (Knickers):
    • Fencing breeches are worn to protect the legs from hits.
    • They should cover the legs from the waist down to just below the knees.
  7. Socks:
    • Fencers should wear long socks that cover the legs up to the knees.
  8. Fencing Shoes:
    • Fencing shoes are designed for quick footwork and should provide good traction and support.
    • They typically have flat soles and reinforced heels.
  9. Body Cord:
    • The body cord is an electrical wire that connects the fencer’s sabre to the scoring apparatus.
    • It should be durable and in good working condition.
    • Sabre body cords are specific to sabre fencing and differ from those used in foil and épée.
  10. Lame Connector:
    • Fencers wear a metallic connector on the sleeve of their fencing jacket, which connects to the body cord to complete the electrical circuit for scoring purposes.

These standards ensure that sabre fencing gear is safe and suitable for the sport, and they are essential for maintaining a level playing field and accurate scoring during competitions. Fencers should always check that their equipment complies with FIE regulations before participating in sabre fencing events.

The age at which you can start sabre fencing largely depends on the policies and programs offered by the fencing clubs or organizations in your area. In many cases, children can start sabre fencing as early as 7 or 8 years old, while others may begin their fencing journey in their teenage years or even later.

Here are some general guidelines:

  1. Youth Programs: Many fencing clubs offer youth programs specifically designed for children as young as 7 or 8 years old. These programs often introduce children to the basics of fencing, including sabre, in a fun and safe environment.
  2. Teen and Adult Beginners: Fencing is a sport that can be taken up at any age. If you’re a teenager or adult who is interested in sabre fencing, you can typically start at any time by joining a beginner’s class or working with a coach.
  3. Competitive Fencing: If you aspire of becoming a competitive sabre fencer and potentially representing your club or country, it’s advisable to start at a younger age, as competitive fencing often requires many years of training and experience to reach a high level of proficiency.
  4. Safety Considerations: Fencing involves the use of weapons, even though they are blunted for safety. Fencing organizations and clubs prioritize safety, so they often have age-appropriate equipment and training methods for younger fencers.
  5. Consult Local Clubs: To get a more accurate answer for your specific situation, it’s best to contact local fencing clubs or organizations in your area. They can provide information on their programs and age requirements for beginners.
  6. Trial Classes: Many fencing clubs offer trial classes or introductory sessions that allow individuals of all ages to try out fencing before committing to ongoing lessons or programs. This can be a great way to see if sabre fencing is a suitable activity for you or your child.

In summary, there is no strict age limit for starting sabre fencing, and it’s a sport that can be enjoyed by individuals of various ages. The key is to speak with one of the coaches, especially Oleg. He will be able to accommodate your child based on the age and skill level. He will be able to provide appropriate training and equipment.

Text Oleg at 917-478-7431 ; Provide your name and the time that you would be available.

If you’re interested in getting your child started in sabre fencing, you’ll need to invest in the necessary equipment to ensure their safety and participation in the sport. Here’s a list of essential equipment your child will need to begin sabre fencing:

  1. Fencing Mask (Sabre-Specific):
    • A fencing mask is a crucial piece of protective gear. Ensure it is designed specifically for sabre fencing to meet safety standards. Look for an FIE-approved mask for added protection.
  2. Sabre:
    • The sabre is the weapon used in sabre fencing. Sabres come in various designs and price ranges. For beginners, it’s advisable to start with a basic practice sabre. As your child progresses, you can consider upgrading to a higher-quality sabre.
  3. Lame (Sabre Jacket):
    • The lame is a conductive jacket worn by sabre fencers. It registers valid touches during matches. Ensure it is suitable for sabre fencing and complies with safety regulations.
  4. Underarm Protector (Plastron):
    • The plastron is worn underneath the fencing jacket to provide extra protection for the non-weapon arm and upper torso.
  5. Glove (Sabre-Specific):
    • Sabre-specific gloves are designed to provide protection to the hand holding the sabre. They often have reinforced padding in the cuff area for added safety.
  6. Fencing Jacket (Sabre-Specific):
    • The fencing jacket should be designed for sabre fencing and have a conductive front surface (lame) that covers the target area.
  7. Fencing Breeches (Knickers):
    • Fencing breeches protect the legs from hits. Ensure they are suitable for sabre fencing and provide proper coverage.
  8. Long Socks:
    • Fencers should wear long socks that cover the legs up to the knees.
  9. Fencing Shoes:
    • Fencing shoes are designed for quick footwork and provide good traction and support. Look for shoes with flat soles and reinforced heels.
  10. Body Cord (Sabre-Specific):
    • The body cord is an electrical wire that connects the sabre to the scoring apparatus. Make sure it is designed for sabre fencing.
  11. Mask Cord:
    • The mask cord connects the fencing mask to the scoring system. It is a standard component used in all fencing disciplines.
  12. Gear Bag:
    • A gear bag is essential for carrying and organizing all the fencing equipment. Look for a bag that can comfortably accommodate the gear.
  13. Optional Equipment:
    • While the items listed above are essential, some fencers also use additional gear, such as knee-length socks or leg protectors for added comfort and protection.

Before purchasing equipment, it’s a good idea to consult with the coach or instructor at your child’s fencing club. They can provide guidance on specific brands and models that meet safety and performance standards. Additionally, some fencing clubs may have equipment available for rent or loan, especially for beginners, which can be a cost-effective way to get started.

In sabre fencing, both men and women use similar types of equipment with a few minor differences in certain items to accommodate anatomical variations between genders. In addition to all the equipment used by male fencers, women also require a chest protector to be worn during a fencing bout.

While most of the equipment used in sabre fencing is unisex, it’s essential for both male and female fencers to ensure that their gear fits them properly and provides adequate protection. Fencers should consult with their coaches or experienced fencers to make any necessary adjustments to their equipment for comfort and safety. Additionally, the design and fit of fencing gear may vary among manufacturers, so fencers should select equipment that suits their individual needs and preferences.

You can check the USA Fencing National Points ranking on the official USA Fencing website. The National Points rankings are typically updated periodically, and you can access them through the following steps:

  1. Visit the USA Fencing Website: Go to the official website of USA Fencing, which is “”
  2. Navigate to Rankings: Look for a “Rankings” or “Points Standings” section on the website’s main menu. This section may be in different places on the website, so you may need to explore the menu options or use the website’s search function to find it.
  3. Select the Ranking Category: Once you’ve accessed the rankings section, you may have the option to select the specific ranking category you’re interested in. USA Fencing provides rankings for various categories, including age groups (e.g., senior, junior, cadet), weapon types (e.g., foil, épée, sabre), and gender (e.g., men, women).
  4. View the Rankings: After selecting the appropriate category, you should be able to view the National Points rankings for that category. The rankings are typically presented in a list format, with fencers’ names, point totals, and sometimes additional details such as clubs and events.
  5. Filter and Search: Many ranking pages allow you to filter or search for specific fencers or clubs to find the information you’re looking for more easily.
  6. Check for Updates: Keep in mind that the rankings are usually updated periodically, so it’s a good idea to check back regularly if you’re following the rankings closely.

Please note that website layouts and navigation may change over time, so the specific location and appearance of the National Points rankings on the USA Fencing website may have evolved since my last update. If you encounter any difficulties or have trouble finding the rankings, consider reaching out to USA Fencing’s customer support or using the website’s search function to locate the most up-to-date information.

When competing in international fencing competitions, including events sanctioned by the Fédération Internationale d’Escrime (FIE), it is generally recommended to have the letters “USA” or the appropriate country abbreviation printed or displayed on your fencing attire, including your knickers (fencing breeches). This is for identification purposes and helps tournament organizers, referees, and opponents quickly identify the fencer’s national affiliation.

Here are some key points to consider regarding the display of your country’s name or abbreviation on your fencing gear:

  1. Identification: Displaying your country’s name or abbreviation on your knickers and other gear makes it clear which country you represent, which is especially important in international competitions with fencers from various nations.
  2. Compliance with FIE Rules: Many international competitions, including those organized by the FIE, have specific regulations and requirements regarding the display of national affiliation on fencing attire. To participate in these events, it’s essential to adhere to these rules.
  3. Uniformity: Wearing the country’s name or abbreviation on your fencing attire helps maintain uniformity and consistency in how fencers from a particular country are recognized.
  4. Patriotism and Team Spirit: It allows fencers to proudly represent their country and fosters a sense of national pride and team spirit.
  5. National Fencing Federation: Your national fencing federation or governing body can provide guidance and instructions regarding the specific requirements for displaying your country’s name or abbreviation on your gear. They may also be responsible for providing or approving the uniform patches or logos.
  6. Size and Placement: The size and placement of the country abbreviation or name on your knickers and other gear are often specified by the governing body or event organizers. Be sure to follow these guidelines.
  7. Customization: Some fencers may choose to have custom-made gear that includes their country’s name or abbreviation as part of the design. Others may use patches or decals that can be attached to their attire.

It’s important to check with your national fencing federation or the event organizers for the specific requirements and guidelines regarding the display of your country’s name or abbreviation on your fencing attire. Compliance with these rules ensures that you can participate in international competitions without any issues related to uniform and identification standards.

You can purchase sabre fencing gear from various sources, including fencing equipment suppliers, sporting goods stores, and online retailers. Here are some options for buying sabre fencing gear:

  1. Fencing Equipment Suppliers:
    • Many specialized fencing equipment suppliers and stores offer a wide range of fencing gear, including sabres, masks, jackets, gloves, and other accessories.
    • These suppliers often have knowledgeable staff who can assist you in selecting the right equipment based on your needs and budget.
    • Some well-known fencing equipment suppliers include Absolute Fencing, Blue Gauntlet Fencing, Leon Paul, All Star and Alliance Fencing Equipment, among others.
    • You can find fencing equipment suppliers both online and at physical locations, but availability may vary depending on your location.
  2. Sporting Goods Stores:
    • Some larger sporting goods stores may carry basic fencing gear, such as beginner-level sabres, masks, and gloves.
    • While the selection may be limited compared to specialized fencing suppliers, it’s worth checking with local sporting goods stores to see if they have the essentials you need.
  3. Online Retailers:
    • Online shopping offers a wide range of options for purchasing fencing gear. You can find numerous online retailers specializing in fencing equipment.
    • Some popular online retailers for fencing gear include websites like Amazon, eBay, and fencing-specific online stores.
    • When shopping online, be sure to read product descriptions, customer reviews, and check for reputable sellers to ensure you’re getting quality equipment.
  4. Secondhand or Used Gear:
    • Some fencers choose to sell their used fencing gear, which can be a cost-effective way to acquire equipment. Look for fencing gear sales through fencing clubs, online classifieds, or fencing forums.
    • When buying used gear, inspect it carefully to ensure it’s in good condition and meets safety standards.
  5. Local Fencing Clubs and Associations:
    • Some fencing clubs may have limited equipment available for sale to their members. Additionally, they may be able to recommend local suppliers or individuals selling fencing gear.

When purchasing sabre fencing gear, consider factors such as quality, safety, and fitness. It’s essential to choose equipment that meets safety standards and fits comfortably. If you’re unsure about specific gear or sizing, seek guidance from experienced fencers or coaches, as well as the equipment suppliers themselves. Additionally, some suppliers offer equipment packages designed for beginners, which can simplify the process of getting started in sabre fencing.

Sabre fencing, like other fencing disciplines, is considered a relatively safe sport when practiced with the appropriate safety measures, proper equipment, and under the supervision of experienced coaches and referees. However, like any physical activity or sport, there is still a risk of injury, and safety precautions are essential to minimize these risks.

While sabre fencing is relatively safe when practiced correctly, injuries can still occur, such as bruises, strains, or occasional minor cuts. Serious injuries are relatively rare but can include sprains, dislocations, or fractures, particularly at higher levels of competition.

To ensure safety in sabre fencing, it’s crucial for fencers to follow safety guidelines, use appropriate equipment, and receive proper training and coaching. Coaches, referees, and fencing organizations play a vital role in maintaining safety standards and monitoring the sport for any potential risks or issues.

The timing for when your child will start sabre fencing competitively can vary widely based on their individual progress, dedication, and the coaching and training they receive. Here are a few factors to consider:

  1. Skill Development: First and foremost, your child will need to develop the necessary fencing skills and techniques to compete effectively. This typically involves regular training and practice. The timeline for skill development can vary from person to person.
  2. Experience: Competing in fencing requires experience and confidence. Some fencers may feel ready to compete after a few months of training, while others may take longer.
  3. Coach’s Guidance: Your child’s fencing coach can provide valuable insight into their readiness for competition. They will be able to assess your child’s skills and advise on when it’s appropriate to start competing.
  4. Age and Level: The age of your child and the level of competition they are interested in can also influence the timeline. Younger fencers may start with local or regional competitions, while older, more experienced fencers may aim for national or even international competitions.
  5. Desire and Motivation: Your child’s enthusiasm and motivation to compete are important factors. If they express a strong interest in competing and are willing to put in the effort required, it may expedite their journey into competitive fencing.
  6. Tournaments and Qualification: Keep an eye out for local fencing tournaments or events that are suitable for beginners or novices. Your child may want to participate in these events as a way to gain experience and build confidence.

It’s important to communicate openly with your child’s fencing coach to set realistic goals and expectations. Fencing is both a physically and mentally demanding sport, and the timing for competitive involvement should align with your child’s physical development and readiness.

Remember that fencing should be an enjoyable and fulfilling experience for your child. Encourage them to pursue their passion for the sport at a pace that is comfortable for them, while also fostering a love for the sport and a healthy competitive spirit.

Yes, sabre fencing is one of the three disciplines of modern Olympic fencing, alongside foil and épée.

To get started with sabre fencing, you can look for local fencing clubs or coaches that offer beginner classes such as Bergen Fencing Club. You will need to acquire the necessary fencing equipment and learn the fundamental techniques and rules.

Sabre fencing was one of the original sports included in the modern Olympics when they were first held in 1896.

Notable Olympic sabre fencing champions include Aron Szilagyi, Mariel Zagunis, and Aldo Montano, among others.

Sabre fencing can be enjoyed by participants of various ages, from youth to adults. Many fencing clubs offer programs for different age groups and skill levels.

Fencers wear protective gear, including masks, gloves, jackets, and knickers, to prevent injuries during bouts. The sabre itself is wired for electronic scoring.

Yes, sabre fencing allows for both cutting and thrusting actions. Fencers can score points with a touch of the blade’s edge or point.

In sabre fencing, the target area includes the entire upper body, from the waist up, including the head, arms, and torso. The legs are considered off-target and do not count for scoring points.

Scoring in sabre fencing is based on touches made with the edge or point of the sabre blade on the opponent’s valid target area. Electronic scoring equipment detects valid touches and triggers a scoring light.

Bergen Fencing Club FAQs

Classes at Waldwick are held on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, with varying times. Beginners and advanced classes are offered, as well as private lessons by appointment.

Classes in Princeton are available on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, primarily for Saber and Foil. Private lessons are also offered.

Bergen Fencing Club is home to a team of highly experienced and accomplished coaches, including Oleg Stetsiv, Orest Stetsiv, and Alexey Kuznetsov, who have trained world-class fencers.

Yes, Bergen Fencing Club has a history of producing numerous successful fencers who have achieved medals at national events and World Cups. Some of them are Andrew Stetsiv, Sarah Merza, Dawson Sieradzky, Ronald Anglade, Ryan Jenkings, and Sammy Roberts, to name a few.

Yes, there are Saber Beginners and Competitive Classes on Saturdays at the Waldwick location.

Membership offers discounted monthly group payments and access to private lessons. It is recommended for those attending at least two group classes per week.

Annual membership is $600 with payment options. There’s also a special annual rate for college students at $400. The fees are payable in installments.

Yes, we’re proud of our fencers’ accomplishments, and some of our alumni have gone on to universities like Yale, Johns Hopkins, Columbia, and many others.

Yes, we provide fencing lessons for adults of all levels, even for those with no prior experience. We can accommodate both national and international aspirations.

You can reach us at (860) 468-9240 or via email at You can also connect with us on social media.

Membership offers discounted monthly group payments and access to private lessons. It is recommended for those who will be attending at least 2 group classes per week.

After purchasing a membership, there is a monthly group fee due at the start of each month. The membership year runs from September to June.

The membership fee varies depending on the program (e.g., Beginner, Advanced, Competitive) and includes access to a certain number of classes and private lessons per month.

Yes, for new members joining after September 1st, the membership fee will be adjusted pro-rata until June to ensure fair pricing.

Beginner members have the option of paying $400 per month (1 class per week and 4X20-minute lessons per month) or $500 per month (3 classes per week and 4X20-minute lessons per month).

Yes, non-members can attend classes at different rates. For example, Beginner non-members can choose between $500 per month (1 class per week) or $600 per month (3 classes per week).

Pricing varies for Advanced and Advanced Plus members and non-members based on the number of classes and private lessons included.

Competitive members have the option to pay $500 per month, which allows them to attend 6 classes per week. Competitive non-members can also participate, but by invitation only, and their pricing is $600 per month.

Yes, members have the privilege of attending group classes at both locations at no additional cost.

Yes, private lesson pricing varies, with members typically paying $40-50 per lesson, while non-members pay $60 per lesson.