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Thread: Intorducing children into fencing

  1. #1
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    Oct 2008

    Intorducing children into fencing

    HI every One,
    I am thinking of getting my 4 years old boy into fencing, I would like to get your thoughts and tips on that. My goal is to get him into honorable sport, and become some sort of champian later without burning him out.

    Also where would be a good "and cheap" place to buy the goods for this sport.
    I am in new Jersey "Paterson area"

    I was thinkning of joing the port myself, as i always was facintaed with it. maybe my 3 years old son too??

    Thank you All

  2. #2
    Senior Member TBean's Avatar
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    Aug 2007
    Your children are young to truly engage in the sport. They are not really developed enough to grasp what would be asked of them, and the end result would likely be frustration. For perspective, many clubs do not take children until they are at least eight years old, and some of the very good junior fencers didn't begin until ten. The technical and tactical skills for fencing need a level of maturity on the part of the participant.

    The best thing you can do for your kids is encourage a love of movement and play. Go to a local toy store and get some foam swords. Run around smacking each other and have lots and lots of fun doing that. This remains the favorite part of my son's day.

    As for yourself, never to late to begin. Find a club in your area - lots of NJ fencing - and begin to learn the sport. Good luck.
    However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally take a look at the results. ~ Churchill
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  3. #3
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    Oct 2008
    Hi tBean
    Thanks for your reply,
    I found a coach who would accept my older son, and beleive me my kids are more than what you think. I certainly dont want him to be a star now, but he got enouh of beading his brother with his foam swrd

    I saw a trend here about this too early to start this age, but let me ask you this, what part of the sprt eaxactly that my son wouldn't be able to comprehend or get.


  4. #4
    Senior Member Allen Evans's Avatar
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    Oct 2003
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    Dominion Fencing (my club) has experimented with programs for very young children (though not as young as yours). We found that what worked best was a program of running, jumping, "gross motor skills" games, and playing games with foam swords. In short, we were charging parents to do what any kid is going to do on a playground when left to their own devices. I would be surprised if any club accepting children below the age of 8 is doing anything much different than we were.

    To actually learn fencing as a sport takes a considerable amount of motor coordination, higher level reasoning functions, and the ability to understand some complex rules (rules many adults don't ever understand) -- which is why every expert in the field usually recommends taking up fencing between the ages of 8 and 10.

    Your children might well be exceptional, or you might be paying a group of fencing coaches to teach them playground games. *shrug*


  5. #5
    MdA is offline
    Senior Member MdA's Avatar
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    Jun 2008
    San Antonio
    Three is too young. I started my kids at five...mostly because they saw me teaching other fencers. All we did was play with extra small sabres I made from left over parts. I used sabre bell guards to protect their hands. We just substituted fencing for any other game a five year old might play...nothing serious....they mimiced the fencing movements they saw the fencers doing at my club. No corrections....and short duration.

  6. #6
    Member Mr. Top Hat's Avatar
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    Aug 2008
    although im only 14... and only have been fencing for about 8 weeks i can tell that even 7-8 year olds in my month of basic class had alot of trouble getting the rules of "right of way" and also have trouble with foot work too

    just let them enjoy being kids get them foam sword to play with thats what i did when i was little up into playing with wooden swords till i discovered Fencing! but u could show your kids fencing earlier... (before they hurt them self with wooden swords...)

    infact u could show your kids fencing during the 2012 summer games

  7. #7
    Senior Member MyrddinsPrecint's Avatar
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    May 2003
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    One of the best ways to do to get your kids involved in fencing is for YOU to start fencing-- as you've already stated you want anyway-- which we're happy about!-- and then let them watch you, mimic you, and observe you having a lot of fun.

    Having kids grasp the rules isn't THAT huge- a kids program could have a reduced set of rules, fence epee where there's a somewhat simpler set of rules, or any number of other things. There are bigger problems:

    No one makes gear for 3 year olds. Your 3 year old would fall out of just about any mask, and every jacket will be so big as to be funny. You could potentially make or have made a custom jacket for a reasonable amount of money--- a custom mask that's small enough will be much more difficult and much more expensive. And some little kids don't like wearing things on their head like that anyway! Even if that were okay, it would be near impossible to find a grip for a blade that a 3 year old could hold.

    And then we've got gross and find motor restrictions. Some 3 and 4 year olds have pretty decent gross motor skills. Not many have excellent find motor skills. And no matter how smart you are, and no matter how much you take away the gross motor skills, the fine motor skills are mandetory for fencing. I once was in charge of teaching a disabled college student sabre. We were seated, as she couldn't walk without a walker. She was smart enough to understand what I told her. She understood the rules. Her body could not complete the physical motions she could describe back to me. She never had fun, nor did I. I just got bruised.

    Your kids are still at the age where you give them safety scissors, and still watch them when they use them. The muscles necessary for fencing are closer to the muscles necessary for using an xacto knife than the muscles necessary for swinging a bat.

    But you shouldn't necessarily believe us. Start fencing. Find a club and a coach you feel comforable with, and give it a couple months. Figure out what muscles you're using, what skills you need, watch the progress you're making. At the end, you might have some new playground games to play with your kids. You might decide to start teaching them one or two things, but not have them fence. Or you might decide that your particular kids, based on some sort of unusual motor proficiency, are ready for more than the average lil tyke. But you'll understand what's involved, and if your kids are ready much more if you get to do it first!

  8. #8
    Posting Hound Fencergrl's Avatar
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    I coach kids and generally I don't accept them younger than age 9. Occasionally I'll accept a child who is 8, but most of the time the 8 year olds aren't able to grasp the body-mind connection. Meaning... "I see the coach moving her feet in a particular way, I want to do it, but I can't co-ordinate myself." I even see this issue with kids who have just turned 9.

    In classes, you can see big jumps in ability that relate to a child's development. In a class of say... 9-12 year olds, there's the young 9 year olds have the most trouble, the 10 year olds are just starting to "get it", by 11 & 12 year olds are typically the most coordinated.

    As others have said, 4 is really young and the classes will consist of a lot of games and foam swords. Your child will likely not be handling a "real" weapon until age 9 or so.

    As others have done, I want to encourage you to take up fencing and play 'fencing games' with your kids.
    Beer, it's whats for dinner! ~ a young snowboarding Canadian
    The meek don't want it! ~ sticker on a rock band's guitar

  9. #9
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by mowahhed View Post
    HI every One,
    I am thinking of getting my 4 years old boy into fencing, I would like to get your thoughts and tips on that. My goal is to get him into honorable sport, and become some sort of champian later without burning him out.
    Four is really too young in my opinion. When my son found out I was a fencer, he wanted to fence for a long time, and I put him off starting until he was seven. Based on what I am seeing so far, he is doing OK, but I think waiting until eight might be even better.

  10. #10
    Senior Member
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    Sep 2008
    I think the hardest aspect of your interest would be finding a local club with children of a similar age. If your child participates against older and physically more mature students they may experience frustration and grow to dislike the sport. Secondly, I would encourage exposure and encouragement to various sports. A good way of getting to know a clubs coaching staff is to visit local youth tournaments and observe from a far before approaching any particular club. Askfred would be a good local source.
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  11. #11
    Just Joined
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    Mar 2007

    Never too young

    If you found a coach, great.
    Find some of his friends and get a group going.

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