September 04, 2007

General Information and Fees

General information regarding fencing sessions

Do I have to already know how to fence to join?

Not at all! The majority of our members are beginners who have never picked up a fencing weapon in their life! No experience is required to join. We have members ranging from no experience to being experienced (competitively). All levels are welcome!

When do you guys have fencing?

We have fencing lessons/practices on Monday and Thursday evenings in the Student Union Building in UBC
. Please check our practice schedule before coming out. There might be one or two lessons which are cancelled (and it would suck if you show up and realize we have no lesson that day!).

Do I need to bring my own fencing gear in order to join?

Nope! We supply our members with everything (masks, weapons and fencing jacket) that is needed to fence safely so there is no need for you to buy your own fencing gear! We even have electric fencing equipment (for foil, epee and sabre) if you do not have your own. We do recommend that you have at least 6 months of fencing experience before using our electric equipment though.

What should I wear to the fencing practices?

Club members who do not have their own fencing uniform should wear appropriate clothing and footwear.

We recommend that you wear:
  • T-shirt
  • Long-sleeved shirt is okay (if you are not prone to sweating excessively under a fencing jacket!)
  • Comfortable pair of sweat pants or track pants (yoga pants are good too)
  • Running shoes or indoor court shoes (e.g. racquetball, tennis, volleyball, basketball court shoes, etc.) are the best for fencing
  • Those with long hair may also want to tie their hair back when wearing a mask so remember to bring a hair band
Please DO NOT wear:
  • Restrictive clothing such as jeans (these will not stretch well and you will be stretching quite a bit when you are doing lunges, plus we wouldn't want you to rip your tight jeans during a lunge, exposing your underwear to the public...)
  • Pair of shorts (may become dangerous at times, and you will be poked on the leg at some point and may not find leg bruises very amusing or sexy)
  • Dangling earrings (anything that hangs or is large in size is in danger of being snagged by the mask or a blade... NOT PRETTY when it happens.)
  • High heels or dress shoes (more prone to ankle injury and these types of shoes have little to no traction at all)
  • Miniskirts (quite obvious, no explanations needed here…)
  • Heavy make-up (seriously, make-up + sweaty face after fencing practice = not pretty)
How do I join?

We don't have an office so the best way to join and pay for the fees is to come to our fencing practices to sign up. You can speak with any of our executives who will tell you who our treasurer is. Our treasurer will be signing students up and collecting fees.

Do I have to be a UBC student to join?

Nope, not at all! Anyone can join our club. However, we recommend that young children under the age of 9 not join because they will be fencing against university students who are twice their size and age (which may be intimidating for them). However, if we are able to have several young children join, that would be fine since they will fence against people their size and age group.

I would like to come fence once a week for one/two terms. Do I have to show up on a particular day each week?

Nope! If you want come once a week, you are welcome to come on either Monday OR Thursday (you choose, we are flexible). As long as you come once a week, we're fine with it. You can even alternate depending on your schedule.

I have some fencing experience. What if I don't need any fencing instruction but rather, just want to fence? Do I still have to pay BOTH the session and membership fee? Can I just pay for the membership fee?

We require all members (with the exception of drop-in members, who just need to pay for the drop-in fee) to pay the session AND membership fee. The session fee will cover for fencing instruction from our coach (if you need it), damages to our equipment (this includes scoring machines), wear-and-tear for our equipment (again, this also includes scoring machines, which can cost hundreds of dollars to repair when a part needs to be replaced) and room space.

Membership and session fees

Membership fees*:
$10 for UBC students
$15 for non-students (e.g. UBC alumni, faculty members, anyone)
*Membership fees will only add you to the mailing list and allow you to become a UBC Fencing Club member. Note that the membership fee is separate from session fees and will not allow you to use any club equipment. Membership lasts for one full year (September 1-August 31).

Fencing session fees* (during school year - beginning of September to end of April):
$155 for term 1-2, twice a week
$105 for term 1-2, once a week**
$105 for one term, twice a week
$70 for one term, once a week
*Session fees include BOTH fencing instruction (lessons) and club equipment use.
**For those who pay for once a week sessions, you can either come on Mondays or Thursdays -- your choice. We are pretty flexible.

Summer session fees* (May to August, total of 4 months):
$140 for entire summer, twice a week
$70 for entire summer, once a week**
$40 per month, twice a week
$20 per month, once a week
*Session fees include BOTH fencing instruction (lessons) and club equipment use.
**For those who pay for once a week sessions, you can either come on Mondays or Thursdays -- your choice. We are pretty flexible.

Drop-in fees:
$8 for club members
$10 for non-members

Payment can be made by either cash or cheque, payable to the "UBC Fencing Club".

Note that we have fencing practices twice a week -- Monday and Thursday evenings.

NOTE: Club members must sign the AMS Membership Waiver Form after paying membership fees! Forms are available at time of membership.

Fencing for Novices

Please refer back to general information for more information on what you should be wearing for fencing practice!

So what exactly is fencing? Here are some links which will help shed some light on this mysterious yet sexy sport we call FENCING.

What is fencing?

What is fencing? – This useful site provides a good overview and explanation on fencing, competitive fencing, modern weapons used in fencing and its differences, weapon descriptions, competitive fencing, history, protective clothing used, techniques, fencing salute, “right of way” rules, other rules and protocols, etc.

Modern Fencing Weapons:

You might come across a strange language we like to call fencing jargon during fencing practice. That’s okay. This will help ease the pain.

Glossary of fencing terms:

If you enjoy fencing enough to want to continue year after year, it might be good to start investing in fencing equipment bit by bit. If you are on a tight budget, you can start off with fencing gloves and eventually move on to purchasing a weapon, mask or whichever is most affordable to you. Aside from purchasing individual pieces of equipment, there is another option. You could also purchase a starter kit. With starter kits, you are buying everything at once (a full set) and usually, vendors sell kits at a discounted price. In the end, if you bought a kit and compared the cost to buying equipment individually, you will be saving a lot with the kit. You can choose which kit you want (there is a kit for each weapon) and the equipment you get may depend on the weapon you choose. Kits usually come with a weapon of choice, jacket, glove, mask and sometimes a bag and plastron. Starter kits can also vary with fencing experience (e.g. basic, advanced, competition range). Regardless of cost, you should invest in good quality equipment. The equipment is there to protect YOU. Remember, kids: safety first.

Here is a good site on buying equipment:

Here are a few fencing equipment vendors which sell good quality fencing gear and starter kits. With the strong Canadian dollar, it might be good to order equipment from the US (same company, same equipment but they have set up new shops in different countries so you save on shipping costs).

Absolute Fencing Gear:

Leon Paul USA:

PBT USA Sport Fencing Equipment:

Fencing for the Intermediate Soul

So you think you have surpassed the novice level, huh? Well, this is just the beginning…

At some point in your life, you may be curious enough to enter a tournament. “So what happens in a tournament,” you wonder. Well, there are poules, direct elimination rounds a.k.a. DE rounds, bouts…Confused already?

Tournaments may be confusing at first but in time, you will get the hang of it. Here is some helpful links that will help you understand more about tournaments.

Summary of how a tournament works (pretty brief summary):

At the beginning of each tournament, you will be assigned to a poule. The number of fencers in each poule really depend on the number of fencers competing in your weapon. For the poule you are assigned in, you will eventually fence everyone in that particular poule. After all poules are done and over, everyone’s results will determine how you place in the tournament. If you did poorly in your poule, no worries, the tournament isn’t over just yet. Poules are there to determine your place or “skill level” right before the direct elimination (DE) rounds begin; however, during DE rounds, if you lose, you’ll be eliminated from the tournament.

More glossary of fencing terms (more advanced) (because you can’t get enough of it):

So you think you’re ready to purchase more fencing equipment. If you don’t know where to look or how to start, you could check out the list of fencing equipment manufacturers and vendors in the links section. We have a general list of fencing vendors you might want to check out. Starter kits are a good investment if you think you will be fencing long-term. If you are interested in fencing competitively, a FIE mask and uniform (in particular, a jacket) might be a good investment.

If you already own some fencing equipment, now is the time to think about taking care of it.

Equipment Care:

Rust is very evil. It can leave unwelcoming marks on your whites, kind of like The Mark of the Beast minus the transformation. Luckily, there are ways of taking care of your weapon and mask:

1. To prevent rust: do not store your weapon and mask near or with your recently used (sweaty) jacket, breeches, lame, plastron or shoes. If you do this, you will notice rust forming on your equipment. Do not shove your jackets inside of your mask. Remember: rust is BAD news. Another way of minimizing rust on your weapons and mask is to buy a fencing bag with 2 different compartments to separate clothing from weapons and masks. You could also let your bag air dry when you get home by unzipping it and separating wet garments from your weapons and mask.

2. Buy PVC pipes: this is to minimize the amount of rusting and to protect your blades in case something wet touches it. You can buy PVC pipes in Home Depot, Rona or other home improvement stores. Try purchasing PVC pipes that are wide enough for the blade to comfortably fit in. Anything that is much bigger than what is needed will just take up more space in your fencing bag (not to mention making your bag seem slightly heavier). You can also buy the appropriate-fitting PVC caps that will go along with your PVC pipes. From experience, one PVC pipe cost about $2-3 dollars. Caps cost very little, maybe less than a dollar each. It’s really cheap and if you cut it up to 90-91 cm each (maximum length for a foil or epee is 90 cm), you can make up to 3 pipes to store your weapons in. The PVC caps can be glued (rubber glue works too) onto one end of the pipe to minimize moisture from entering the insides.

3. Removing rust off blades: if you find rust has already accumulated on your weapon, you can sand it off with steel wool (the ones used for dishwashing is good). Fencing equipment vendors such as Leon Paul also sell abrasive block cleaner to wipe rust off of blades. Rust removal creams that are used for polishing car parts also works in my experience. But remember to use a cloth when applying the cream and to use another clean cloth to thoroughly polish it (until it leaves no marks) and to get rid of excess cream or the blade may leave marks on your opponent’s jacket. If you don't want to use any abrasive material to rub against the blade, you can try acetone (or nail polish remover liquid chemical, you can find this in local stores like Shopper's Drug Mart or London Drugs). I came across this by accident when I removed super glue from my electric blade. If you rub acetone onto the rust with a cloth, it will move the rust.

4. Waxing your blades: polishing your blades with wax can minimize rusting. This is because wax/oil and water do not mix. You can use wax or oil to coat your blade. If you’re going cheap, Vaseline works but you just need to make sure all the gel has been completely wiped off the blade with a clean cloth or else your fencing opponent won’t be very pleased with having gel wiped onto his/her fencing jacket. Car wax works well and I hear gun polishing oil works just as well. Remember to polish your blades cleanly and remove any excess cream/wax/oil. You should wax your blades at least once a month.

Washing your fencing jacket, breeches and plastron on a weekly basis in the washing machine is okay (I suppose set on “hand wash” is ideal), gloves are okay too although I'm told you should hand wash them instead. Read the labels carefully please. They will tell you how to wash your fencing gear. You should air dry them afterward instead of putting them in the dryer. They may shrink, depending on the material.

Washing lamé jackets and masks:

The bib of your mask can be washed. Some fencers have even tried putting their mask into a dish washing machine. It works. If you don't want to do that, you can just submerge the bib of your mask under soapy water and massage/stretch the bib for a bit (dishwasher soap works to get rid of the build up of sweat and oil).

Your lamé jacket can also be washed. Thank goodness. Rust can also form on your lamé jacket so it is recommended that you wash it once rust is visible. There is a way of washing your lamé jacket and mask. DO NOT put your lamé jacket into the washing machine. They can damage (or even break) the metallic threads of the lamé! Hand-wash only!! 

Fencing for the Competitive Soul

Now that you have garnered enough interest to even consider fencing competitively (or you are not but you would like to learn more about this mysterious yet intriguing sport we like to call “fencing”), here are some useful information and links you should check out.

So you want to learn more about refereeing, do you? To be a good referee, you must understand the rules and be familiar with the terminology associated with fencing.

Gestures and words used in refereeing (Fencing gestures and jargon, oh my! From the FIE website, it is also useful although it is in French):

This is the FIE website, it is worth checking out:

Here are all FIE rules and announcements:

The Holy Bible of Fencing: FIE Competition Rulebook. The British Fencing Association always have an updated downloadable copy of the FIE Rulebook (with the latest changes). Originally, the FIE Rulebook is in French (and can be found in the FIE website) but you can find the translated copy in the BFA website. You can either download the entire FIE Rulebook or if you have a printed copy of it already but some parts are outdated, you could download the updated sections and add that to your printed copy of the FIE Rulebook.

It’s good to learn more about refereeing and the FIE Rulebook but you’re not finished just yet. You still need to purchase a CFF competitive passport! For $62.50 CAD total (as of the 2013-2014 season), you can purchase your passport from the CFF website. Apparently, the passport allows you to fence and enter tournaments anywhere; either locally, nationally or in the United States, if you choose to do so, that is. Your passport would last until the end of the fencing season (one full year), from September 1 to August 31.

You go here to purchase your CFF fencing passport (for BC residents):

If you’re curious about FIE-approved fencing equipment, look no further. The information can be found in the FIE website and it lists homologated blades and masks. It’s in French so it’s important to click on the “EN” at the top right corner of the screen to read the English version.

FIE-approved blades and masks:

Not sure which fencing equipment brand is FIE-approved? Here is a list of manufacturers:

So you’re interested in switching to a pistol grip, huh? Here is some information you might want to take a look at before doing so. Also, speak with your instructor on whether it is a good idea (or if you are ready) to switch to a pistol grip. This site shows most existing fencing grips and how to choose the right grip size:

Before you go on buying everything you think you need for a tournament, you should find out what requirements the tournament has with regards to fencing equipment. You may not even need to purchase a FIE jacket, breeches or mask. Depending on the tournament, it is usually recommended that you invest in a FIE mask. A 350 N uniform (jacket and breeches) are okay. Some may require that you wear a FIE plastron if you have a non-FIE jacket. It all depends on the tournament. A 350 N plastron should be enough. If you are not sure, just ask. It is best to bring at least 2 extra weapons as back-up in addition to 2 extra body wires. For foil and sabre, you will need your own lamé jacket.

Equipment Care:

It is important for every fencer to know how their weapon works and how to fix most equipment-related problems. Unfortunately, this is usually not the case. Most do not know how to fix their own weapons or body wires. Luckily, there are books and DVDs out there that can help you. There are also helpful websites which show viewers how to fix their weapons.

I recommend The Big Book of Fencing – It has sections on history, pedagogy, tactics, directing, and most of all, a section on repairing equipment!

How to repair or re-wire your weapons:

If you're planning on rewiring your own weapon, you might want to invest in a rewiring rig from Absolute Fencing. It is handy for keeping your weapons bent while you apply the glue:

Electric Foil Repair – Very informative, works best if you own Leon Paul electric foils.

Leon Paul Fencing Equipment (Armoury) – Very detailed diagrams and 3D images of equipment parts, video, and step-by-step explanations on how to repair: foil, epee, sabre, body wires, scoring apparatus, equipment rules and regulations, conductivity tests, etc. Both websites are from Leon Paul but they are both slightly different (one is an older version than the other) however both are still useful.

We even have a few armoury repair manuals you could take a look at or buy from us.

Useful Fencing Links

University of British Columbia

Alma Mater Society of UBC

British Columbia Fencing Association

Fencing in British Columbia – BC fencing community-focused site with tournament information postings, membership applications, club directories, forum, photo gallery.

Canadian Fencing Federation – CFF for short, site contains domestic rankings, rules, handbooks, refereeing, tournament news, CFF and FIE passports, and other useful information. This is where you can purchase your CFF licence for competition.

Federation Internationale D’Escrime – FIE for short, this translates to the International Fencing Federation, an organization which governs the sport of fencing all over the world; contains a lot of information including rules, handbooks, rankings, refereeing, and more.

British Fencing Association – updated FIE rulebook (in English) found here.

United States Fencing Association – useful fencing information, helpful tips, fencing articles, equipment ratings, fencing forum.

askFRED – FRED stands for Fencing Results and Events Database, it is a self-serve service for fencing tournament organizers and fencers to coordinate participation in tournaments; tournaments (and tournament details) usually get posted here for interested fencers to pre-register.


I have listed some fencing equipment manufacturers you might want to check out.

Absolute Fencing Gear

Leon Paul UK

Leon Paul USA

Fencing Equipment of Canada

Allstar Uhlmann Fencing

PBT Fencing

PBT USA Sport Fencing Equipment

Triplette Competition Arms

Blue Gauntlet
Freestyle Fencing Shop

Fence With Fun

**Here is a complete list of fencing equipment manufacturers from the FIE website for your convenience: