Fencing originally began as a form of military training and has roots across Europe and China. It became an organized sport in the 14th century and really took off in the 18th century. Fencing was one of the 5 sports played at the first modern Olympic Games in 1896 and has been a part of the Games since. (1).
The combat sport involves two players attempting to hit the other with a blade. One point is scored each time a player hits the other’s target area. There are 3 variations of fencing that differ in blade type and scoring rules. 3 rounds are played for 3-minutes each, or until the first player earns 15 points. (2).
“Fencing is the perfect balance between mind and body. You need to have speed, strength, and quick decision-making. They call it physical chess at the speed of light. You have to think 4-dimensionally when you are fencing. Like in chess, it’s about predicting your opponent’s movements. The further you are able to do that in the future, the more likely you are to corner your opponent to where you want them. It’s a beautiful sport in many ways. Fencing is something you can do for life. It’s an individual sport, but at the same time it creates a strong community.”Carlos Kuri, President of Fencing League of America & National Head of AAU Fencing
The Fencing League of America works in collaboration with AAU to develop the sport of fencing across the United States beginning at the youth & amateur level. AAU Fencing licenses tournaments & promotes the overall sport across the US, while Fencing League of America manages the organized play, age groups, results & athlete rankings.
“I am the President of Fencing League of America and the National Head of fencing for AAU. AAU is very good at accessing communities who have not encountered the sport before, and under Fencing League of America, we manage & grow all fencing age groups. I am very passionate about local & grassroots development. Together, the goal for both AAU Fencing & Fencing League of America is to expand nationwide in every state. We can offer a lot to local tournament organizers,” Carlos Kuri shares.
Fencing tournaments are divided into 3 categories: interscholastic tournaments, standard events, and national and premium tournaments. The interscholastic tournaments include any school-related events, typically middle and high school tournaments. Standard events are licensed tournaments held by fencing clubs across the country throughout the year. National & premium tournaments are high-level qualifying events like the Junior Olympic Games and National Championships held at the end of each year. Tournaments are held year-round, with standard tournaments occurring every weekend of the year, interscholastic events from January-April, and the premium events in the summer. The season builds up to those big tournaments for competitive teams and players who earn points/rankings throughout the year.
AAU Fencing & Fencing League of America just need a flat surface & anywhere from 5,000-100,000 square-feet of indoor space. The groups put down their own surface, so any flat flooring including concrete or hardwood works well. Typically, AAU Fencing & Fencing League of America only need a facility for a weekend. Kuri is a great resource for helping local clubs across the country find facilities and grow their brands. “I need to be able to offer those small avenues for growth for all the clubs, small and large throughout the nation,” he notes.
For those who would like to get involved, Kuri recommends searching for a local club in your area. There are also a bunch of fencing coaches in local communities. Those interested can also send us an email at Fencing League of America ([email protected]) and their team will connect with contacts in your area. “Our goal is to make fencing more accessible. We aim to help the sport grow by showing individuals how to begin playing, set up tournaments in their area and encourage new clubs to form,” Kuri shares.
For Kuri, growth for fencing comes down to the grassroots, youth level, believing it is important to demonstrate the sport in schools, fairs, and across local communities. “Schools are the most efficient way for kids to see the sport. There are so many advantages to fencing. There are few injuries in the sport – it is very safe overall. It’s also the number one sport for college scholarships,” he continues.
To learn more about the AAU Fencing and follow them on Playeasy, head to their Playeasy profile here.
Additionally, head to www.fencingleagueofamerica.com to learn more about the sport.