Beginners Fencing Courses

Still on the fence about exercise? 14 years or over? Then we want you to learn to fence! .

The course involves group and individual lessons and all kit is provided

  • next date TBC.

We meet on a Thursday evening.

The cost of the course is £80 for 5 weeks.

If you are interested, please fill in the form on the right to get information about the next available course. If you wish to be notified of any future course's commencement dates, mention it in the comment area in the form on the right.

You are welcome to come along to the club at any times to have a look, please note that there is a lot of interest in our courses. Be prepared to act quickly when dates are announced.

8-14 years old?

Our junior classes are for you. Based on school terms the cost is £120 per term with all kit provided. If you are interested please fill in the form on the right to sign up for next term. The next start date is 21st April 2022.

For more alternatives for beginners courses, see other beginners options for alternative local clubs, where you could start sooner.

The Saxon venue is:

Regular club night: 7.00-10.00 p.m., every Thursday night.

Beginners: 8.30-9.30 p.m., every Thursday night.

The session starts at 8.30 p.m, so please allow yourself time to change beforehand.

Twyford Sports Centre, Twyford Crescent, Acton, London, W3 9PP (for reference, the centre's number is 020 8993 9095, but this only reaches us during session times) Part of Ealing Borough's Sport Development, the sports hall has full changing room and shower facilities. There is ample car parking, although the gates get locked at 10.30 p.m. there is an automatic exit opening and you get out (but not back in).

Select here for more details and maps.

The course:

All are welcome at any level of experience, but as we are an adult club, only age 14 up. We now also run junior courses for 8-14 year old, so please contact us if you are interested.

The course is 5 weeks of an hour's session every week, though it can take longer allowing for hall closures, etc. At the end of the course, you will get the British Fencing Association's Achievement Award for Grade 1 foil certificate and badge at a small charge (click to see more)

After this course you are welcome to join the club as a member, where we provide improver's individual lessons.

The equipment:

We undertake to provide you with the appropriate equipment for your safety:- plastron, mask, glove, jacket*.

You need to bring:

  • a T-shirt;
  • trainers (non-marking soles for the gym. We recommend a pair with low ankle cut-outs, such as squash or badminton type, in order to allow a full rotation of your ankle);
  • and jogging bottoms with pockets that can be zipped shut, or are sewn shut, or better still- no pockets. This is because of BFA regulations. Any other trouser will not be allowed.

Select the headings below to see further details of the basic equipment and to point out the particular requirements for fencing.

(There are specific technical data as to the required strength and construction of these materials, all available from the British Fencing Association,the governing body of the sport in the U.K.)

1. Mask

fencing mask

The mask consists of a steel-mesh face-piece, and a strong, cloth, neck-cover called the "bib". It is held in place on your head by 2 means: there is a bendable tab which comes over the top of your head, and an elastic head-band. They also come in 3 sizes, small, medium, large: the size is indicated by the shape of a small metal piece welded to the side of the mask; (the example above has a diamond, indicative of a "small").

2. Jacket

A typical right-handed fencing jacket..

fencing jacket

The jacket is constructed of a strong cloth, often nowadays of a Kevlar material. It is done-up by a zip fastener on the side of your chest furthest from your sword arm. In other words the jackets are handed, the one above being for a right-handed fencer. This is so that it minimises the risk of your opponent's weapon snagging or entering the zip. The cuffs are also elasticated, or have some means of closing them, to similarly help prevent accidents with your opponent' blade. It also has a high collar for similar reasons. The webbing strap, that passes between the wearer's legs to fasten at the back, prevents the jacket riding up and exposing one's sides and groin (a legitimate part of the target area in foil and epee!). Very importantly, the ladies' jackets also have extra chest protectors built into the lining.

Obviously, a left handed jacket is a mirror image of the right handed one...

fencing jacket

3. Under Plastron

fencing plastron

This is probably the strangest of the fencing garments for the beginner. Its function is to provide protection under the jacket in such a way that its sewn seams do not fall in line with the jackets; i.e. an opponents blade should not be able to accidentally work through a bit of dodgy stitching! Some of the newer Kevlar jackets are considered so strong as to no longer require the use of this protection, however it does help reduce bruising if you are of a delicate nature.

4. Glove

fencing glove

This is the simplest of the fencing garments. Its function is to provide protection for the sword hand, but do not buy a pair, as we fencers are a funny lot and only wear one glove!

It must be of a gauntlet style so as to cover the cuff; this prevents your cuff snagging your opponents blade, or worse, it entering your sleeve.

The * points out a particular feature: there must be some opening near the base of the palm to allow the electric "body wire" through to the weapon. In this case the gauntlet opens up and is closed with a velcro fastening. Initially you will not be fencing with electric scoring apparatus, but it will not be too long before you do!

It is also useful if it has reinforced palms as they do wear out quite quickly. Also, this is one of the few areas where the rules allow coloured garments.

5. Foil

fencing glove

Well here it is, your first sword: "The Foil". It's overall length is up to 110cm, the blade being of a maximum of 90cm.

The blade is divided into 2 sections:

  1. the Forte: this is the widest and strongest part of the blade (it has a square section), and
  2. the Foible the wobbly thin bit (rectangular section).

You will learn what each part of the blade does in the lessons (hopefully!).

The rest of the weapon is composed of the following:

  • At the business end of the blade is the Button, this stops you running through your opponent (it is, after all, a friendly sport not a gladiatorial match);
  • the Guard, a descriptively accurate name for the circular piece of metal that covers your sword hand when in action;
  • the Hilt, the handle of the weapon. It is ergonomically shaped to fit your hand, so like the jacket comes in left and right hand versions. (There are different forms of hilt or Grip which you will encounter later, the illustrated example is the classic French Grip used to develop blade control and in tuition);
  • the Pommel this is actually a weight to help balance the weapon in your hand; and
  • the funny looking loop is made of leather and called a Martingale, you place your fingers through it, so that if you loosen your grip you do not drop your foil.

Make sure you view our Health Considerations

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Next Adult Beginners Course

The next course starts on:

21st April 2022

Please fill in the form below and full details will be sent you

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Our next beginners course will start on TBC

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The next course starts on:

21st April 2022

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