What’s the right age?

Kids start fencing as early as age six. Grown-up can continue their sword play well into their sixties and beyond. Fencing requires focus and skill so 7-8 years might be okay to get started.

Competitions begin early

The first frontier at the competitive level is the U-10 category. This is the time when players are not only learning some cool fencing parries and ripostes but also managing to handle their masks, dress, gloves, body-wires and yes, their weapon. It is a sight to see the kids.

Then the competition moves on to U-12 category. Depending on the level of competition, it is not unusual to see players of lower age category taking part in higher categories. At times it is a calculative shot at a medal. Mostly it is about getting more piste time for experience. Sometimes, it is just over eager parents. The important thing is the children should enjoy their competition day. It might not be everyone’s idea of fun to compete in higher age category and lose by a big margin!

Serious fencing

U-14 (sub-junior) and U-17 (cadet) is when kids become serious fencers, some with solid hard-work behind them. However, it is not very rare to see podium finish by players with just a couple of years of fencing at this stage. Especially, in places like India where the game is in infancy.

Game for the next generation

U-20 is the junior category and U-23 is the youth category and above that there is the seniors. The competition in Delhi, NCR area is weak in these categories mainly because fencing has not been around here for that long. The slots are mostly filled with U-17 and U-20 players.

Thats going to change. We are witnessing international medal winners in U-17 and above categories in India.  Es-tu prêt?

Photo Credit: Weston Kelsey, right, fences U.S. Olympic Training Center teammate Jimmy Moody on June 8, 2012. Kelsey, a former U.S. Air Force Academy fencer and now three-time Olympian, has been fencing for over 20 years.  (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Kathrine McDowell)