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GFC Learn to Fence - Teenage and Adult

Fencing is a unique and increasingly popular activity, enjoyed by people of all ages. Founded in 1949, Guildford Fencing Club is one of the oldest fencing clubs in England. We are traditionally a three weapon club - épée, foil and sabre. We follow the school year from September to July, and our year is divided into three terms.

Thinking of giving fencing a try? As a Club, we are keen to encourage new people to try out the sport of fencing and to encourage people back to the sport. No previous experience is required and the equipment is provided by the Club.

We support support students who wish to take fencing as the physical component of their Duke of Edinburgh Award -scroll down for more information.

This page is about the course for older teens and adults. Click here for beginners under 13.


The taster session that starts the next course will be on Friday 26th April 2024.

The cost of the course:

The learn-to-fence course is priced at just £155, and you can fence after the course finishes until the end of term. What's more:

  • Your initial commitment is just £20, for the first night - a "taster session".  You only pay the remaining £135 if you wish to continue
  • This price includes membership to fence and get lessons at the club as an intermediate-level fencer until the end of term.

What the course consists of:

The course gives you the opportunity to learn fencing each Friday (except half-term) from 8 to 10PM. Each evening there is:

  • A warm up session
  • Then, for the first six weeks, separate classes are organised for beginners. These will include class instruction, practice and short individual lessons
  • After the first six weeks, beginners start to integrate into the main club sessions, and can practice against each other and also against more experienced fencers
  • After the first six weeks, individual lessons are available from our experienced and successful coaches - you write your name on a whiteboard and practice until it is your turn for a lesson
  • At Guildford, the individual lessons are included in the membership.

The course is for adults and teenagers (13 and over), no previous experience is necessary.  All of the topics required for the British Fencing Level 1 Qualification will be taught.

Covid precautions

The course is subject to the club's Covid guidelines, published here: covid.php.

What you will need to provide:

You will need:

  • clean, indoor non-marking training shoes
  • alternative shoes if necessary, suitable for a playground surface outdoors
  • socks
  • after the first night: long socks - knee-length football socks are suitable
  • loose trousers or track suit bottoms (not jeans, which are too tight; nor low-cut trousers, which leave a gap between the jacket and the trousers where a foil might enter)
  • a t-shirt or sports top to wear under the fencing jacket
  • a water bottle, towel and spare t-shirt are recommended.

The Club will loan the following (free of charge):

  • fencing jacket
  • plastron (a one-armed protective under-jacket)
  • mask
  • glove
  • breast protector (for older girls only)
  • foil or epee for class practice
  • electric weapon and wire for practice (subject to availability)
  • use of the Club's electric scoring equipment

Included in the total cost:

  • After the first night, the club will arrange to supply of a pair of fencing breeches, to comply with Brtish Fencing safety standards (CEN1). These are yours to keep after the course is over
  • All coaching for the course
  • There is no charge for parking in the school playground.

  Plus (subject to availability) loan of:

  • electric weapon and wire for practice
  • use of the Club's electric scoring equipment

For details of how to enrol and pay, please click here.


Duke of Edinburgh (DofE) Award

We support students who wish to take fencing as the physical component of their Duke of Edinburgh Award. We can provide assessment for Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards. Choose the learn-to-fence course (6 weeks of tuition plus the rest of term to consolidate your sport skills fencing within the club) if you are doing Bronze or Silver, and you can add extra terms of fencing if you need to complete longer time periods such as for Gold. When you join, just let us know that you would like to do your Duke of Edinburgh Award with us, so that we can start the record-keeping needed!

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Why fence?

Fencing is an individual sport which is fast and athletic but also great fun!

It is enjoyed by people of all ages, and is excellent for keeping fit.

Many who do not enjoy team sports find they enjoy fencing.

It develops general fitness, balance and co-ordination and uses lots of calories!

Fencing can be enjoyed as a social activity and/or as a competitive sport.  Many adults, as well as teenagers, have started fencing at our beginners courses.

You can develop at your own pace, and for training sessions you do not have to book ahead, nor worry about letting a partner down if you miss a week.

Your skill is a long-term investment - you may be able to surprise the youngsters even when you've reached the third age.

Fencing has a good safety record. Provided the correct equipment is used and the correct safety rules are followed, blade injuries are very rare. The club's equipment meets British Fencing's safety standards.

After the Beginners Course

When you have successfully completed the course, we hope you will want to continue fencing. You can join Guildford Fencing Club as a member the following term - click here for the current fees.

Your skills are portable - you could also join another club if you move away, or go to University, for example. There are fencing clubs world-wide.

As a member you can train and practice each week with other club members, which is enjoyable and a good motivation to keep fit.

It is generally recognised that, while footwork skills can be taught in classes, you need individual coaching to improve bladework and tactics. At Guildford Fencing Club you have the opportunity to take one-on-one lessons from one of our experienced coaches.

You can learn to use an additional weapon. You can have lessons in either foil, epee or sabre; and some of our fencers are skilled at all three.

We organise competitions within the club, and it is easy to enter competitions in the UK. Within a few months of starting fencing you could compete in a local competition such as the Surrey Intermediates.

Fencers who have learned and trained at Guildford regularly progress to both age-range and open competitions and have achieved recognition on national - and in some cases international - ranking lists.

Page produced using BlueGriffon, by Tim Schofield - - with thanks for additional content from T Fleetwood.

Information may not always be up-to-date; last updated 22 March 2024