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GFC Learn to Fence - Under 13s

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.

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

The next course will start on Friday 26th April 2024.


The Junior Learn-to-Fence (Beginners) Course consists of six 90-minute classes, led by one of our experienced coaches.  The classes provided a structured introduction to the sport of fencing, with a combination of warm-up exercises, footwork instruction, and lessons in the use of the weapon for offense and defence. Students will be able to practice fencing with each other and - after a few weeks - with other students of similar age.

No previous experience is neccessary.  The expected outcome is that students will understand and be able to practice:

  • The principles of scoring at fencing
  • Rules for safe fencing
  • Basic footwork on the piste
  • How to attack the opponent with a lunge
  • How to counter an attack with a parry or a stop-hit

This is a sufficient standard that students can start to join in with the regular courses at the club each Friday evening, in order to progress further.  Fencers may continue to the end of term, at no additional cost, in any case. The classes are held each Friday evening (except half term) from 6:30 to 8PM. 

The cost of the course:

The U13 learn-to-fence course is priced at just £155.  Please note that the full fee is payable before the course, the first night is not a taster session.

What's more:

  • The price includes membership at the club, so that you can continue to fence for the remainder of the term in our junior class.
  • At Guildford, the individual lessons are included in the membership cost

Covid precautions

The course is subject to the club's Covid guidelines, published here: covid.php. Unfortunately this means that parents may not stay in the hall during the class. 

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), subject to availability. 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

The course is for girls and boys aged 9 to 12.  This includes membership at the Club, so that you can continue to fence for the remainder of the term at no extra cost. *  At Guildford, the individual lessons are included in the membership cost.

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


Learned with Plastic Swords?

We welcome students who have learned using plastic equipment. We normally expect they join our Learn-to-Fence Course to learn the different style and speed possible when using a metal foil. However, students may request an assessment by one of our Coaches to see if they need take the Learn-to-Fence Course. This will be decided by the Coach.

To find if a course for under-9s is running nearby, visit the activity finder on the British Fencing website and search for clubs or sessions



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.

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.

Fencing has a good safety record. Provided the correct equipment is used and the correct safety rules are followed, blade injuries are very rare.

After the Learn-to-Fence 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.

You will need to buy your own kit over a period of several terms. Some of the coaches at the club can sell you kit at competitive prices, or you can buy elsewhere if you prefer. Mask, jacket, plastron, breeches and sabre gloves must meet the safety requirements.

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 Age-Group.

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

The club has a thriving teenage and adult membership too.  13s and over fence with the teenagers in the later session (8 PM to 10 PM).

Page produced using BlueGriffon, by Tim Schofield -

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