Fencing is consistently one of the fastest growing high school sports. It primarily appeals to those athletes we label as “intellectual athletes”. This type of athlete enjoys computers, video games, maybe engineering, but hasn’t found “their sport” yet. Fencing could be the next step in their athletic journey. Fencing also appeals to athletes that have been in more traditional sports, but have found that they are looking for something new, unique…and that has swords!
Speaking of that, fencing absolutely appeals to athletes who enjoy the light sabre duals in Star Wars films, the expert, yet silly, sword play of The Princess Bride, or the derring do of films like The Three Musketeers, Pirates of the Caribbean and other dashing films.
Many fencers come to the sport in middle school or high school for the first time. They are seeking something different, something that keeps them active, something that helps them work up a sweat, something that doesn’t involve a ball. For these reasons and many more, fencing might be the right sport for your child.
Want to learn more about how to get started in fencing? CLICK HERE to read our brief blog about just that.
Why YEL Fencing Classes
Since 2006 YEL has been offering FIVE STAR fencing classes for students in grades 2-12. Many of those students have gone on to win local tournaments and a handful of YEL fencers have gone on to be state champions. Our coaches are safe, well-trained, nurturing leaders who want to share their love of the sport of fencing with other students.
Since 2006, YEL has had thousands of fencing students enter our fencing program. We have been told that we are among the largest fencing entities in the USA.
Our focus is to engage youth to think, learn, and play well.
Our trademarked Teach It! Practice It! Play It!® methodology
Teach It! – Each class the our coaches teach a number of fencing skills. Our coaches are trained to give athletes micro-lessons where they give athletes a snippet of information (proper parry technique, as an example). Each class builds on techniques from the previous class.
Practice It! – During the Practice It! portion of class, athletes line up opposite a partner and practice the technique while standing still. Next, they practice the same technique, but add in footwork, or slightly more complex blade work that leads to the technique in focus. Athletes then rotate partners every two minutes or less. This way athletes get practice with partners of varying skills, heights, and abilities.
Play It! – Kids love to compete. During the Play It! portion of each micro-lesson, we game-ify the technique taught into mini-games for the fencers. Then we end each class with 10-20 minutes of match-style fencing (called “bouts”). Again, fencers rotate partners throughout this portion of class.
Dynamic coaches – Dedicated, well trained, and kid-friendly coaches is the biggest measure of success for our programs. A quality coach can mean the world of difference for young fencers. Quality coaches can help the student enjoy the sport more easily, learn technical skills more quickly, and develop their acumen at a greater pace. YEL coaches are driven to follow our mission to engage youth to think, learn, and play well.
Comprehensive curriculum – YEL fencing has dozens of lessons for the absolute beginner to students who are training to compete in regional tournaments.
Safety – Fencing is among the safest of sports, if safety guidelines are followed. To ensure this, we ask that all students have their fencing mask on anytime they are holding a sword or are around anyone with a sword. We also use foils (the weapons for one of the fencing sports) with safety tips, thick gloves, thick jackets, chest plates, and plastrons for older fencers. The rules and techniques we teach also enhance students safety. Hey, no one wants to be deemed a “Safety Violator” by their coach.
Equipment – YEL provides all the required fencing equipment for students. We do suggest that if students are interested in the sport for the long term, that those fencers consider purchasing their own equipment. Click on this link to see our guide for purchasing your own equipment.
YEL offers fencing tournaments in multiple locations throughout the school year. To learn more about these, please visit our Fencing Tournament FAQ page. YEL Fencing tournaments are fantastic for students at the beginner level, but we often have some fencers who are among the top in the state.
Visit our Registration page and put in your zip code to find fencing classes in your area.
YEL fencing classes often meet in the evenings and on weekends in communities near you.
YEL also offers summer day camps as well.
Can’t find a YEL fencing program near you? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss how to start classes in your area.
What a great way to keep your young athlete active over the summer months, and maybe help them find “their sport”! Summer Fencing Programs are day camps (usually 9am-noon, or 1-4pm) in your area. We come right to locations within your community and teach our fencing programs in a day camp setting. Students of all levels can sign up.
YEL classes stress safety continually to our students. All students wear a protective mask, protective jacket and a glove on their weapon hand. Weapons (foil, epee and saber) are dull at the point and have rubber safety tips on them.
In addition, our instructors are always on the lookout for "safety violators". Those who take their mask off around the foil or who have their weapon around willy-nilly. Both are big no-nos and will draw a quick reprimand followed by a stern look.
Safety is first and foremost in YEL fencing classes!
Youth Enrichment League fencing classes provide all necessary equipment for our fencing students. Foils, epees, masks, gloves, jackets and other safety equipment. We also provide wipes for cleaning the masks before and after use.
However, we cannot guarantee that we will have the exact correct size for all students. That being said, we try to match our sizes to students as closely as possible.
Returning students are encouraged to purchase their own equipment. Our coaches have equipment order forms and guidelines for students to order their own equipment...they make great birthday presents!
Please consult your coach for equipment guidelines and an order form.
NOTE: YEL does not sell equipment. We provide you information for a website retailer to order from.
You will get poked with a sword in our fencing classes. However, you have all the safety equipment you need. A mask, jacket, a plastron (piece of plastic that covers the chest), glove and safety tips on all weapons.
Foil is a lighter blade and more bendable. Students will definitely feel the impact, but it isn't painful.
Epee is a thicker, heavier blade. Because of this, students will feel the impact of this more. But the use of a plastron and a safety tip significantly blunt the impact of the strike.
No. Tournaments are encouraged, but not required. Youth Enrichment League fencing tournaments are very popular and very fun, but we understand that some athletes are not interested in wins and losses.
Tournaments give fencers the opportunity to fence students from other communities. It also gives them a chance to learn what it's like to win or lose and have to come back for another bout (a fencing match).
All fencers receive a trophy or a medal based on how many wins they have at the end of the day.
For more on YEL Fencing Tournaments, search more in our Fencing FAQ section.
How do you work with multiple skill levels in the same classroom?
It is quite a challenge to work with a variety of skill levels at the same time. However, our coaches have done this for years with great success. Often, a cooperative learning environment emerges with an experienced student displaying skills that beginners need to implement. See the experienced student complete the skill successfully often accelerates the beginners learning process.
Our coaches are experienced working with intermediate and advanced students to help them fine tune their approach while at the same time introducing a skill to newer students. For instance, a new student will learn parry, an intermediate works to refine parry-riposte, and advanced may work to refine counter-riposte.
Also, we try to avoid pairing experienced fencers against beginners when bouting.
We offer classes to students in 2nd grade through adults. Our largest group of students is currently in the 2nd grade through 8th grade range. With the addition of Coach Ro Sobalvarro to our staff, one of our goals will be to create a pathway for middle schoolers to progress into the Minnesota State High School Fencing League and compete in local, state and perhaps even national events.
Youth Enrichment League provides all necessary equipment for a safe fencing environment. However, we have found that returning fencers often prefer to purchase their own equipment. YEL coaches have a supply list and guidelines for parents to find the right equipment. Please approach any coach for details about this.
We do encourage fencers who plan to participate in the sport more than a year to consider purchasing their own equipment.
High school and middle school fencers who plan to participate in state tournaments must have their own electric equipment and a proper uniform to compete in these events. Please ask your coach for a full list of equipment for these events.
YEL provides for electronic equipment at YEL tournaments and in some advanced classes, but not all. Most classes participate in dry (non-electronic) drills, games and bouts. However, our coaching approach and curriculum is geared towards participation in electronic bouts.
Since YEL tournaments have electronic equipment, we encourage students to use this equipment at these events. YEL does provide all electronic equipment for events. Students do not need to purchase their own electronic equipment for YEL tournaments.
Middle school and high school fencers who plan to participate in Minnesota State High School Fencing League events must purchase their own electrical equipment.
It creeps us out to even discuss the topic, but it is a reality we have to address.
Since our equipment is shared among multiple students from multiple communities, YEL coaches and students wipe out masks before and after each class. The wipes are meant to stop the transmission of cold and flu.
If we are alerted that one of our students has lice we:
Fencing equipment and coaches are quite expensive. However, we work to keep the price point affordable for most families. Our fencing program participation fees are based on teacher remuneration, facilities fees, and equipment costs. We have found that our fees are in line with most other participation fees in other community sports, and often fencing is less expensive.
If you are in need of scholarship, contact us at email@example.com and we can help you find assistance.