Seen fencing on television or even in your local shopping centre, think you might fancy it but don't know where to start or what it involves? This page is for you.
How Do I Start Fencing?
A few schools in the region run fencing classes as part of PE. If yours is one of them then this is the easiest way to start. If yours isn't one of them, but you think fencing could be a popular sport in your school then why not talk to your PE teacher and see if they could arrange a taster session run by one of the region's professional coaches?
Otherwise look at the "Clubs" page and see if you can find a club near you that runs beginners courses.
How Old Do I Need to Be?
There is no hard and fast rule, but 8 is probably the minimum age that you should think of starting. Depending on how old your are you may start with foam or plastic equipment before you move on to metal swords.
What Can I Expect at a Fencing Session?
Contrary to films with Captain Jack Sparrow it isn't all jumping from ships decks and swinging blades above your head! There will be lots of footwork, otherwise you would never get near your opponent, but you can expect to do fitness work, some work in groups and possibly an individual lesson. Oh, and some actual fencing as well of course.
OK, I Can Beat Everybody in My Class, Now What?
Time to think about entering a competition or two.
A first step might be the North-West Junior Series, this is a series of tournaments for under-11 and under-14 fencers at all for boys and girls at foil, épée and sabre. There are six tournaments each year and the results of each are aggregated together to give a series winner for each weapon. These may take place at any North-West club.
If your parents or guardians are willing to help you travel further afield then you might want to take part in Leon Paul Junior Series competitions. These are a national series of age group tournaments, several of which are run in the North-West. Other tournaments in the series run in places a far apart as Scotland and Cornwall. More details can be found on the LPJS website.
As you get better you might consider entering the British Youth Championships. You have to qualify for these, you cannot enter directly, the qualifying competition usually takes place around February and the Championships themselves in May or June.
What About International Tournaments?
If you stick with it and get yourself high in the national rankings then you may get picked for international competitions, do really well and you might even make the World Cadet (Under-17) Championships!