Open fencing availability

Discussion in 'Fencing Discussion' started by Phrogger, Mar 14, 2019.

  1. Phrogger

    Phrogger DE Bracket

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    Is there any particular reason that clubs seem to have heartache over people just dropping in for open fencing? I've recently called two clubs to ask about open fencing and both of them were a bit huffy about it. They want you to sign up for a full membership or take lessons for access to open fencing. But isn't it desirable to have as many people present for open fencing as possible? I'm ok with floor fees waivers, USFA membership, whatever, but this is just them actively discouraging it.

    - One coach allowed open fencing but was very negative about it. Pressured me to take a group class instead (this is a low level class in a different weapon that I don't need or want).
    - One coach gave me a hard sell to join his club and take lessons, signing up for a year at a time (this club is out of town and I just wanted to visit, which I made clear). I finally got the actual floor fee and time of open fencing after several back-and forth emails.
    - Another coach said that I could come for open fencing, but "only" if I would participate in their grueling, 30-minute group warmup routine. I'm a grownup, I know how to warm up before exercise.

    Why can't there be a fencing equivalent to pickup basketball? Can you imagine if gyms only allowed people to play basketball if they did a 30-minute warmup routine or signed up for a basketball class first? Here's an idea- have a big open fencing on Friday or Saturday nights, with a low fee and perks like door prizes and snacks. Everyone gets tired of fencing the same people all the time. ESPECIALLY at the smaller clubs. I think visiting other clubs should be encouraged.
     
  2. Purple Fencer

    Purple Fencer Podium

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    Never had an issue at SwordPlay, so long as the waiver is signed and the floor fee paid.

    Hell...I LOVE it when someone drops in to my sabre class....always fun to get hammered by someone new.

    Where have you been, btw? Last time you posted prior to this month was 5 years ago!

    Have you continued Sabrecat?
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2019
  3. Inquartata

    Inquartata Podium

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    Wish I knew which clubs these were...so I could avoid them. I have never encountered this, in my admittedly limited experience with just dropping in to clubs.
     
  4. fenceart

    fenceart Made the Cut

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    wow, i would be thrilled to have people stop in and fence! My club has been contacted a few times, but then they never showed up... was pretty excited that we might get some new people for the night! I am surprised anyone would give a drop-in any grief. I have, on occasion, done some traveling with my gear (looked up clubs ahead of time) and had great fun being welcomed and fencing. Come to my club anytime! (S FL)
     
  5. Mac A. Bee

    Mac A. Bee is a Verified Fencing ExpertMac A. Bee Podium

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    A local club positing itself as a national-developer charges $50 floor fee. They even invited vets for a pre-April NAC warm-up - @$20.
     
  6. NKFA

    NKFA Made the Cut

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    WTH? That is crazy! We actively go out of our way to invite people for open fencing!! Only $10, or $5 if you are a student!
    Love to have people drop by!
     
  7. Mac A. Bee

    Mac A. Bee is a Verified Fencing ExpertMac A. Bee Podium

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    Unfortunately, not unique in our area.
     
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  8. jdude97

    jdude97 Podium

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    I've seen floor fees range from $10 to $25 for a night of fencing but haven't experienced anyone getting huffy about it. Some places are more inviting than others. One doesn't advertise the floor fee and only offers it to people a max of 3 times before they're obligated to get a monthly membership. I think the idea there is they are fine to give people a trial or for people visiting from out of town but they want to keep the practices decently structured and without a ton of strangers who might not respect the space.

    When I was visiting a city for a week once upon a time, I was able to drop in for open fencing at 3 different clubs. They were all happy to have me after brief emails or phone calls. So I'd say sorry you had these bad experiences, and I guess you know now to steer clear of these clubs with negative attitudes.
     
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  9. HalfBlue

    HalfBlue Made the Cut

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    We also welcome drop-ins. We don't typically charge any floor fee if the person is in town for a short time and is only going to visit for a few sessions. We also don't charge them for any club equipment they might need to borrow.

    However, our club does also have an official, posted floor fee policy, bc in the past we have run into situations where fencers have abused the drop in policy. Dropping in 3 or 4 times a month on an ongoing basis in lieu of joining the club is not cool, at least not with us. If you are getting pushback from these clubs, it might be b/c they've run into something similar....?

    Re your "pickup" suggestion, we do something along those lines - a regularly scheduled open invite to all area fencers with a C rating or above to come in and do open fencing with us at no charge.
     
  10. garyhayenga

    garyhayenga DE Bracket

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    I've been to several clubs where the first day was free, and you only had to pay a floor fee if you came more than once.

    I also had a friend who was visiting New York for work a few years ago and he wanted to drop in to practice at a particular club, and he was told if you were in the top 8 in the point standings it was free, and if you weren't in the point standings they didn't want you.
     
  11. Phrogger

    Phrogger DE Bracket

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    Ahh, I got burned out...life got in the way, etc. Was living in podunk nowhere with a small club and got tired of fencing the same 3 people on repeat. Great people, just gets old quick. 2 hours to nearest competitions, too. Current location is not perfect but better, but I'm easing in slowly. Having to fence foil a lot because there are only 2 other epeeists, so dying to drop in to an open epee somewhere. I really would rather not start competing without more practice.

    Haven't done much with Sabrecat but you might see it again at some point. I'm attending a comics workshop in May, might work on it then.
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2019
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  12. SevenDad

    SevenDad DE Bracket

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    In our limited experience with drop-ins, it's been much more like jdude97's.
     
  13. CBS

    CBS Rookie

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    Our club also is delighted to have visitors (minimum floor fee), it makes Open Fencing much more interesting and fun for everyone. Open Fencing time is very different from structured classes/time, the whole point is that it is OPEN!
     
  14. tbryan

    tbryan Podium

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    I've sometimes seen that in areas where there are multiple clubs within easy driving distance, and they end up fighting over the pool of existing fencers instead of focusing on growing the number of fencers. It seems to be more prevalent when there's bad blood among the clubs, such as a past fight over division resources, a club that split acrimoniously, or even just the feeling that one club is "poaching" the best students from another club.

    Some clubs discourage drop-ins because the club fees are structured in a way that members to try to minimize costs by paying for everything a la carte vs. signing up for a membership. Others do it just because they have limited space and are trying to ensure that their paying members get plenty of bouting time. Or because they've had negative experience with drop-ins who behaved badly.

    But in most of these cases, the objections should vanish as soon as you explain that you're from out of town, are a member of a club near your home, and are just looking to drop in from time to time for additional variety in bouting.

    Good luck!
     
  15. Inquartata

    Inquartata Podium

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    I guess I was spoiled. One club at which I fenced charged a floor fee of $20 a month. Another let me fence 2 to 3 times a week no charge. ( I had been helpful when the owner had learned to fence and he had extended that privilege to myself and 1 or 2 others when he opened the club. When he sold the club the new owner continued to honor the privilege. ) Now I pay $125 a month at another club for access to open fencing. Ah, the good old days.

    I have been welcomed at Nellya and Salle D'Asaro and was neither asked to pay floor fees nor pressured to join or engage in warm-up programs. Way back when it was the same at Westside and Grenadier.
     
  16. Purple Fencer

    Purple Fencer Podium

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    Would love to see it....so nice to see the sport portrayed accurately. Can't find the old illos on line, tho.
     
  17. Mac A. Bee

    Mac A. Bee is a Verified Fencing ExpertMac A. Bee Podium

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    Yup.
     
  18. Privateer

    Privateer Podium

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    I think what you found is the exception, not the rule (except apparently the rule in your area). I was driving through Vegas one year and stopped into a club and they charged nothing (even let me warm up with the other vets before the group class).
     
  19. ktinoue3

    ktinoue3 Podium

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    I have had limited experience but the club I stopped by in South Carolina let me come fence and even fenced foil for the night despite most being epee fencers. My fee for the day was to send a club patch to them. I happily complied when I got home.
     
  20. StupidPeopleTrick

    StupidPeopleTrick Made the Cut

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    Was it RedRock? http://www.redrockfencingcenter.com
    Lots of good things to say about Frank and the club!
     

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