Who is fencing for?

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.  

Want to know more about the Benefits of FencingCLICK HERE to read more.

YEL Fencing classes feature:

  • 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.

Fencing Tournaments

  •  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.
Fencing Dual

Fencing Tournament

Find Classes

  • 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 info@yelkids.com to discuss how to start classes in your area.

Summer Camps

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.

Find Summer Camps


  • Want to learn more about how to get started in fencing?  CLICK HERE to read our brief blog about just that.
  • Want to know more about the Benefits of FencingCLICK HERE to read more.
  • Find out what YEL Coaches feel makes a great coach.  CLICK HERE to read more.


    Youth Enrichment League Fencing Frequently Asked Questions
  • Safety? How safe is fencing?
    Chet Gunhus11-09-2015

    According to a study conducted at the 2012 London Olympics, fencing is safer than almost any sport...even badminton!

    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!

  • What should I wear to class?
    Chet Gunhus11-09-2015

    We encourage grade school fencers to wear court shoes, a light shirt (they will be wearing a thick jacket over their shirt) and long pants.

    Middle school fencers should consider wearing athletic clothing.  Sweat pants, a light shirt (they will be wearing a thick jacket over their shirt) and court shoes.

    We provide all the fencing equipment for all students.

    See "Equipment Guidelines" FAQ for more details about fencing equipment.

  • How do I get fencing equipment?
    Chet Gunhus11-09-2015

    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.

  • Does it hurt?
    Chet Gunhus23-09-2015

    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.

  • Is tournament participation required?
    Chet Gunhus22-09-2015

    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?
    Chet Gunhus22-09-2015

    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.

  • What is the age range of YEL Fencing classes?
    Chet Gunhus23-09-2015

    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.

  • Purchase or buy equipment?
    Chet Gunhus23-09-2015

    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.

  • Electronic versus dry fencing?
    Chet Gunhus23-09-2015

    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.

  • Where do I buy equipment?
    Chet Gunhus13-01-2016

    Equipment Parent Letter Fencing

    YEL has a coupon code for Blue Gauntlet.  See the above link for more details.

    There is Absolute Fencing Gear and Leon Paul.  However, YEL does not have a coupon code for those companies.




  • Lice: What do you do about lice in your fencing classes?
    Chet Gunhus23-09-2015

    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:

    • Don't use the equipment for a 48 hour period.
      • Lice die within a 48 hour period without a host.
    • Vacuum out all helmets from that class.
    • Do dry fencing drills without equipment.  We have a ton of these.

    Our research has shown that the best way for fencing students to prevent the spread of lice is to purchase their own mask.

  • How do I register?
    Chet Gunhus12-02-2021

    To see a complete list of {YEL!} chess classes at all of our schools, visit our REGISTRATION PAGE.  

    Step 1: enter your zip code.  Then choose Basketball or Sports from Course Subject.  You can filter by school, course name, start date, district, or teacher.


    Feel free to email us further questions via our CONTACT PAGE.

  • Will my child fence better fencers?
    Chet Gunhus12-02-2021

    YEL Fencing classes have been around for quite some time.  It is likely that new fencers will fence against more experienced fencers.  And that's great!  

    We rotate partners every two minutes-ish, so fencers can work against fencers a of very size, experience, and ability.

    During the Play It! portion of class, fencers will compete against fencers of similar experience.  However, we do rotate fencers so they may fence someone with more experience as well.

    When we do our in-class tournaments, we do our best to categorize fencers by experience.  This is dependent on the number of students enrolled and their level.

  • How much does the class cost?
    Chet Gunhus12-02-2021

    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 info@yelkids.com and we can help you find assistance.