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magpie
-26th March 2008, 15:20
Might be relevant to my children some time hense!!

What are the 10 best universities for Fencing and why?

No false modesty please !!!

hokers
-26th March 2008, 15:45
Varies from year to year as coaches and fencers move around.

University policy toward sports clubs changes over time as well.

You would be better off asking the question about the current strength for a specific weapon, or the current organisational strength of the university club.

fencingmum
-26th March 2008, 15:52
As Hokers says, it varies as fencers come and go. Look at Edinburgh these last two years for example, rising fast and doing well, but when the current teams graduate, who's to say what will happen next...

Best look at coaches and perhaps financial support.

Gangsta G
-26th March 2008, 17:22
It depends what you are looking for -

A) A University with a good team that is aiming to do well in BUSA. The only University where you are guaranteed the team will be good is, I think, Northumbria, where the AU appear to have a policy of actively recruiting and supporting fencers who have been successful at junior level - a policy that has reaped its rewards this season.

B) A University where you can train towards a certain goal - Junior World Cup Squad/Junior World Championships, etc. I am not sure that this can be done at University alone. Your training needs to be supported by a local club that is of a high enough standard. Of the fencers that have been selected for this year's Junior World Championships, I think only Alex O'Connell is at University. (Possibly Lukhas Kuhlmey and David Gregory as well? I'm not sure).

fencingmum
-26th March 2008, 19:00
Yes, Edinburgh fencers, despite their success, get very little financial help.

However you're unlikely to get into international junior squads if you're only starting at uni. If you're already at that level before you got to uni, good luck to you. It often comes down to some hard decisions...studying or fencing.

randomsabreur
-27th March 2008, 09:19
Any university based near a good club, with a coach that the kids want to train with for 3+ years... The students themselves are transient, the good local club isn't.

Alternatively look at the BUSA results - individual and team and pick the best from that.

Gangsta G
-27th March 2008, 12:39
Any university based near a good club, with a coach that the kids want to train with for 3+ years... The students themselves are transient, the good local club isn't.That's what I was trying to say, but with more words and less clarity!

Swords Crossed
-27th March 2008, 13:10
I should first of all declare an interest here: I feel that Liverpool Uni is a fantastic, friendly club and we welcome all standards of fencer (as well as producing all standards of fencer - some of our fencers have won opens or been ranked in the top 100). Sport Liverpool (the AU) is also now starting to offer Scholarships for higher level athletes. Right, Advert over.

Its a bit of an oversimplification to list ten Uni's as the best for fencing. The question should be which is best for you're kids. It all depends on a variety of things. For example
The standard they are currently at: different clubs have different strengths when it comes to nurturing talent. For example, some are better at training from scratch while others are excellent at providing support for internationals.

You're child's aspirations in the fencing world:Are they a social fencer, looking for a way to relax? Are they looking for an introduction to competitive fencing? While some unis may not be at the top of a BUSA premier league, this may not be a bad thing. Had I gone to Oxbridge or Northumbria or some other elite Unis, I doubt I would have made the team, and would have lost out on the opportunity and experience (that isn't a criticism of said unis, I have a great deal of respect for them, but it wouldn't have been appropriate for either myself or them to shove me in at the deep end without a chance of success!). Of course, if your kids are already competing and looking ever upwards an elite uni may not be a bad thing. These tend to have better funding (Sports Scholarships etc).

As has been mentioned by others, the standard of local clubs is also important, as extra practice with 'unknown' fencers is vital for development, and it's no bad thing to get an alternative perspective on coaching.

All that being said, what is most important is that you're kids seriously ask themselves what they want out of Uni. If they choose their home for the next 3+ years based primarily on the standard of fencing, and aren't happy with their course/department/location, it's a bit of a waste of time and money.

Bambi
-27th March 2008, 16:07
All that being said, what is most important is that you're kids seriously ask themselves what they want out of Uni. If they choose their home for the next 3+ years based primarily on the standard of fencing, and aren't happy with their course/department/location, it's a bit of a waste of time and money.

Agreed. Seems daft to choose a uni based on their fencing club. Surely the most important thing is getting to go to a uni that has a course you want and does it well. If they have a BUSA topping club with top coaches thats great, if on the other hand they have a group of like minded people who meet twice a week to fence and go to the pub after thats also great.

All depends on your childs priority (unless you do epee :D)

fencingmum
-27th March 2008, 18:50
Have to put in another word here and point out that not only are Edinburgh students (men and women) doing well in Busa, but there is also an excellent club in Edinburgh itself. If you join both you could train four times a week.

Starling
-30th March 2008, 22:23
Well, I know I'm a little bit biased - I've been part of the University of Kent Fencing Club for the past three years and just finished my year as President of the Club but I do have to shout out about my club!

I agree with a lot thats been said already - it does depend on what you want sort of Fencing Club experience you want. And also there is the inevitable three year period as more experienced fencers arrive at university, bump up the standing of the club in BUSA and then graduate leaving the less experienced fencers.

In terms of UKC - every training sessions (9 hours a week, not including BUSA matches) is followed by a social to either one of the oncampus bars or into town. Unlike a lot of sports clubs we are a mixed sex group and fence together. Everyone, whether advanced, intermediate or novice, does the warms up together and we all have contact time with our coach, Peter Huggins (who is a legend!) If you are on the BUSA teams you obviously get more time with Pete during team training (Women's Team just got promoted to the Premier League and Men's Team has performed well in the past too) In terms of support from the Students Union, I'm led to believe that some AUs don't provide much budget for their clubs but our Sports Federation supplies us with travel budgets, coaching, kit budget etc. Over the past couple of years we have also had a couple of fencers receive Sports Scholarships from the University (ranging from 500 to 1,000+) and our Sports Centre recently bought us two beautiful pistes for BUSA use, so the financial support is there.

When I started looking at universities, Fencing was a factor in my decisions and I'm glad of my choice. However, fencing at universities change so much with members who come and go, the leadership of the student committees and so forth so I think its just too difficult to define the best universities for fencing! I'd recommend visiting the universities and asking questions and maybe meeting some of their fencers!

Hope that helps! x

Asprin
-31st March 2008, 11:40
Have to put in another word here and point out that not only are Edinburgh students (men and women) doing well in Busa, but there is also an excellent club in Edinburgh itself. If you join both you could train four times a week.


Not all the other unis in Edinburgh have uni fencing clubs, but EFC is in the city and is a great club. So any uni in Edinburgh can be seen as a good uni for fencing.

Red
-31st March 2008, 14:09
Leicester has...

- David Kirby
- a small host of weapon specific coaches for the novices (currently 2 at each weapon)
- a women's team that is getting used to winning - but the team is graduating
- a men's team that has been a development work this year and has a superb team spirit
- local competitions for all abilities (county at senior, region at novice, intermediate and senior levels)
- a thriving county league in which we enter teams
- a decent neighbouring club (Leicester) with Graham Stretton as the head coach, with many decent foilists. Also has a sabre only night with a GB top ten senior and a few top ten junior MS.
- sponsorship to go to competitions (club covers half entry fee, AU covers travel - currently 20p/mile)
- Sports bursaries (up to 100) to help you with the cost of coach ed courses for example
- lots of kit - we have everything you'll need to fence, whether in the club or at opens. The only thing we can't do is gear you up in full FIE kit. We don't have any 350N plastrons anymore either.

madfencer
-31st March 2008, 14:36
I started a thread on this topic a few years ago. I think it was entitles 'good unis/areas for fencing' but if you type something along those lines into the search it'll probably come up and be of use to you. Might be in the archives now.

madfencer

MelleMel
-31st March 2008, 15:23
Let me be one to set off a tempest in a teapot by suggesting you consider University fencing in the US if your kids are serious about the sport.

Having fenced for several years at a high level in both systems I can offer this perspective...

If your kids are interested in fencing as a social sport, are looking to develop somewhat that the University level and want to have a good time, UK Unis are a great choice. Fencing programs in the UK are on the whole, wonderfully social and student-run - the result of many intelligent, dedicated young University fencers who are forced to band together and make the best they can with pitifully little funding from the Universities themselves. The personal bonds developed at UK Uni programs can be very strong, even though (or despite the fact that) the level of fencing in the UK is rather low compared to the rest of Europe or the US. There are some good tournaments to be had, but top level competition is hard to find on any consistent basis without significant time and personal funds invested in traveling to Opens and the very occasional large BUSA event.

If your kids already have some fencing talent and experience, and are looking to take their fencing to the next level, you should consider a US University with a large fencing program. There are many of them, as fencing is a far more developed and funded University sport in the US compared to the UK. US universities simply offer far more funding for student athletics, thus providing more opportunities for top-level coaching, top-tier competition and athletic scholarships. Decades of investing by US universities in recruiting European, Russian and Chinese coaches (not to mention home-grown talent) has resulted in one of the highest concentrations of top-level coaching talent in the world. A very busy schedule for NCAA (US equivalent of BUSA) fencing means far more high-level competitive opportunities, with any decent program footing the bill for transportation and housing (not to mention equipment). Additionally, due to the NCAA format, US university fencing programs feature larger teams, giving more people the opportunity to fence in competition. A VERY deep UK mens fencing team might consist of 7-9 people, whereas an average US program would usually consist of 10-12 traveling members.

So yes, there are trade-offs, and it all depends on what your kids are looking for in a program. My years in UK university fencing were the most fun I've ever had fencing, but the level of training, funding and competition was never close to that offered in the US.

randomsabreur
-31st March 2008, 15:44
I'd say the best approach would to be for the kids to work out what subject they want to study, then which universities are good for that subject and have appropriate entry requirements. From that list, use fencing - availability of local and university clubs - as one of the criteria for whittling down that list, along with location and campus. If the kids are keen fencers, university in an area with limited fencing opportunities/an unsupportive AU will be annoying, and relatively expensive (driving many miles/week with petrol at current prices adds up - it was expensive enough 3-4 years ago when I did it.

From a competing perspective, a university with an active club, and fencers who compete at opens will help with competing costs - lift shares/minibus make life easier.

A university at one of the extremities of the country (potentially including Exeter, anything beyond Cardiff in Wales, most of Scotland, UEA) will make competing more of a pain, especially if you are used to being more central. London, although geographically and distance wise relatively convenient is a pain to get out of in terms of time taken, especially if you need to get out from the opposite side of London (e.g. Bracknell from New Cross!). The South Circular is slow, even off peak, due to traffic light phasing being rubbish!

hokers
-31st March 2008, 16:08
No doubt the US universities have a better 'varsity' sports program than most/all of the UK universities, but this is only one of the factors.

I would not attend any US university personally. Various factors, each to their own and all, but there's pretty much no way.

I did spend time at a Canadian university and can endorse them, but there was no varsity fencing at the time.

Swords Crossed
-1st April 2008, 12:21
I'd say the best approach would to be for the kids to work out what subject they want to study, then which universities are good for that subject and have appropriate entry requirements. From that list, use fencing - availability of local and university clubs - as one of the criteria for whittling down that list, along with location and campus. If the kids are keen fencers, university in an area with limited fencing opportunities/an unsupportive AU will be annoying, and relatively expensive (driving many miles/week with petrol at current prices adds up - it was expensive enough 3-4 years ago when I did it.



Well, would you know, that's exactly how I did it! And I have to say its turning out pretty well.

Nick
-1st April 2008, 13:10
I've just taken over the coaching at Exeter Uni this year.
Mondays 2hrs (Begginers, still a reasonably high level when it comes to footwork, concentration on blade skills)
Wednesdays 4hrs (Team training or Matches, plus individual lessons by independant arrangement)
Thursday 2hrs (Advanced training, fitness, footwork)
Friday 2hrs (Begginers, still a reasonably high level when it comes to footwork, concentration on blade skills)

A half hour drive up the motorway is Wellington
Monday Foil 3hrs
Wednesday mixed.
Thursday Epee

An hours drive further on is Plymouth Club
Thursdays 3W

Taunton is about another ten minutes on from Wellington if you want to do sabre with Neil Brown.

daoud
-2nd April 2008, 11:53
If your kids already have some fencing talent and experience, and are looking to take their fencing to the next level, you should consider a US University with a large fencing program.

Yes, that's my experience also. University fencing in the UK does not seem very serious (notable exception of Northumbria centre). OK for beginners no doubt. Many university club websites are poorly maintained, with little indication of coaches' qualifications, opportunities for advanced coaching etc. and a heavy emphasis on "social" activities i.e. drinking. It would be nice to have a guide to where the best university coaches are located. For example which university has the best weapons coaches for fencers who are already in, or on the fringes of, the international Junior squads ?

TLove
-2nd April 2008, 15:39
Yes, that's my experience also. University fencing in the UK does not seem very serious (notable exception of Northumbria centre). OK for beginners no doubt.

Cheers for writing us off as a beginners club.
You're wrong by the way :eek:

randomsabreur
-2nd April 2008, 16:09
Yes, that's my experience also. University fencing in the UK does not seem very serious (notable exception of Northumbria centre). OK for beginners no doubt. Many university club websites are poorly maintained, with little indication of coaches' qualifications, opportunities for advanced coaching etc. and a heavy emphasis on "social" activities i.e. drinking. It would be nice to have a guide to where the best university coaches are located. For example which university has the best weapons coaches for fencers who are already in, or on the fringes of, the international Junior squads ?

Clearly you've never fenced at university in the UK... Or known anyone who does, if your research is limited to websites, which tend to fall down the cracks between committee when the computer science student committee member who was keen on the idea of making the site leaves, and you're left with a non computer geeky committee who lose the password.

University fencing in the UK is very serious at the top, the fencers involved care a lot about the results, and will put a lot into the team matches. It is not as serious as fencing for GB, but is a lot more accessible. However, for the purpose of obtaining money (subs and AU money) to run the club, and get to matches, it is necessary to have many members, who may well be beginners, and may well be convinced to try fencing rather than Kendo or Karate by the friendly socials. The fact that the club has a Christmas party, which is less than sober doesn't mean that the club isn't serious, it means that the members are students, who if not attending the fencing club party, might well be in the union, or at their hall attending a similar party.

As a serious fencer I would never rely on a university club for training throughout a degree. Fellow students graduate, get bored of fencing or get injured. Town clubs, which have members with jobs and many of whom are permanently settled in an area, are much more constant over time, and will grow. University clubs vary depending on who comes to join and who graduates (or fails or leaves).

scottishsabreur
-3rd April 2008, 12:20
Yes, that's my experience also. University fencing in the UK does not seem very serious (notable exception of Northumbria centre). OK for beginners no doubt. Many university club websites are poorly maintained, with little indication of coaches' qualifications, opportunities for advanced coaching etc.

Wrong! Not true of most unis! Glasgow University has one of the senior Scotland coaches (previously coached at least one former British Champion that I am aware of) and Strathclyde I think are looking for his services again too... oh and Glasgow also have an FIE ref who helps with coaching, etc. at the club.

hayleyjade
-3rd April 2008, 16:14
so true on the upkeep of websites.... even our webmaster cannot fathom how to put pictures online... and the amount of info we wanted to put on there (regularly training info, results from matches and comps) became a bit of a farce.
We use our facebook group now for most info- as its easier to update.
that maybe isnt usefull to you researching uni clubs tho!!

I would agree that you should rate university for their course (using times guide or the like) and then reduce your choices for the fact that they have a fencing club. Our club has grown immensly over the past 2 yrs.... and may again shrink ina few years time... it can never be seen!


As for what uni's are good- LEEDS is ace! (and offers brilliant degrees, massive libaries and a fantastic night out.) Boys won their league again this yr, and we would have won ours if it hadn't been for pesky northumbria......
Lots of local yorkshire clubs that are very local, and we are currently coached by Robert Kiss.
enough shameless promotion....

as for other unis that i've come across... durham had a good set up, and im guessing lots of cash, metal pistes anyway.
Sheffield were under funded (but lovely people and good fencers)
and i'm not going to write about anyone else cos i fear i might get sued (and currently have no chance of actually being able to get out of a law suit cos i sepdn too much time fencing and not enough time law-geeking it up!)

Hayleyx

CARDIGAN
-4th April 2008, 09:07
Wrong! Not true of most unis! Glasgow University has one of the senior Scotland coaches (previously coached at least one former British Champion that I am aware of)

scottishsabreur, I am fascinated by the above. Who is the British Champion
and what weapon?

Cardigan

daoud
-4th April 2008, 10:44
we are currently coached by Robert Kiss.



That's good info. I did fence at a British university myself at a time when there were two or three fencing coaches actually retained by the university. I think it is excellent that beginners and intermediate fencers can take up and follow the sport while at university, and also that they enjoy the social aspects. The current deficiency (compared to US universities) seems to be in the provision of advanced coaching for current or potential international fencers. London of course can use the services of a number of local coaches with good reputations, and Northumbria/Durham appear to be well set-up. It would be useful for university applicants to see where the best coaches are (e.g. Kiss at Leeds).

cesh_fencing
-4th April 2008, 10:58
I went to Kingston University.

The actual Kingston Club at the time was fairly strong for Epee (Kingston Club won the Senior British Team Epee when I was there (team of 3 students and Robin Davenport).

Most importantly was that it was really convenient for LTFC (10-15 min drive) which at the time was the top Epee Club in the UK.

When looking at Unis, a top quality local club which has high level coaches is just as good as a strong Uni club, though the social side is probably not up to the same level.

Remember most of the top fencers at a local club do not disappear after they finish at Uni so has a longer term quality.

If you go to a uni which is strong currently, make sure that those good fencers are not all in their final years or else it may be fatally weakened next year.

randomsabreur
-4th April 2008, 11:11
Neil Brown coaches Bristol, Bath has a big club on site (Bath Sword). The identity of the coach at the university is, however, fairly irrelevant if there's no-one to train with. High quality opponents are more important. The availability of good coaching in the area, ideally on different nights from the university club training night, is more important than who actually has the job of coaching the university team.

omc
-5th April 2008, 13:20
Yes, that's my experience also. University fencing in the UK does not seem very serious (notable exception of Northumbria centre). OK for beginners no doubt. Many university club websites are poorly maintained, with little indication of coaches' qualifications, opportunities for advanced coaching etc. and a heavy emphasis on "social" activities i.e. drinking. It would be nice to have a guide to where the best university coaches are located. For example which university has the best weapons coaches for fencers who are already in, or on the fringes of, the international Junior squads ?

Tomek Walicki coaches at Oxford, and it's not too far from London (1 hour on train) which opens up the opp to visit London clubs. The club has a good number of junior internationals, and a fair few [decent (e.g. Neal Mallett)] external visitors for sparring.

I think the point made about UK clubs focussing on the social side of things is an interesting one: I suggest it is because uni's have good fencers, who have been trained / continue to train outside the university framework, who have to be encouraged to turn up. Until you get a critical mass it is hardly worth their time for a good fencer to _train_ at most uni club's, so focussing on social activities is a way to get them to show up to BUSA matches. Not ideal, certainly, but entirely understandable.

This is notably different in the US, where the university framework often rivals the best exterior clubs. [because of funding for coaches, facilities, sports scholarship etc]. I echo the thought that if you want *serious* fencing you should not hesitate to think about a US programme. There is no question about it, the general standard of athletic performance across all sports at US universities is much higher, even if the UK can challenge in a few specialist areas (e.g. Rowing). NCAA competitions are in a totally different league to BUSA, and are serious events in the fencing calendar. In the UK most people don't take BUSA that seriously, and wouldn't necessarily prioritise it over other commitments.

Of course, I wouldn't advocate choosing a university on the basis of fencing... but some might, e.g. if their degree was an insurance against a future injury ruining a fencing career...

hayleyjade
-6th April 2008, 10:37
a note on the social side.... clubs tend to focus on this, as we are students, and when else in your life will you be able to go out every night of the week and still funstion??

and also, because of the beginner element in the club, in order to get them to stay on and train (and give us their membership fees) we have to get them involved and motivated to come back!! A problem we are having a t the minute... is this the norm across the country??

Hayley

daoud
-6th April 2008, 14:26
when else in your life will you be able to go out every night of the week and still funstion??



Of course in the USA undergraduates aren't allowed to drink so they do more training.

Rdb811
-7th April 2008, 09:38
a note on the social side.... clubs tend to focus on this, as we are students, and when else in your life will you be able to go out every night of the week and still funstion??

and also, because of the beginner element in the club, in order to get them to stay on and train (and give us their membership fees) we have to get them involved and motivated to come back!! A problem we are having a t the minute... is this the norm across the country??

Hayley

It's certainly true for adult beginners - I'm led to believe retention rates are even worse for student clubs.

In the USA, AFAIK, varsity sports are effectively the second tier of professional sports.

Swords Crossed
-7th April 2008, 11:39
membership is much less stable than most clubs. Every year you lose a significant portion of your membership, so enticing people in is a priority. Most years we seem to get one or two experienced fencers, but with student clubs membership fees (by necessity) being lower than regular clubs, we need more recruits, so naturally we have to compete with the many other student clubs for those who are looking to try something new.

Mike
-7th April 2008, 12:26
Durham has Lazlo Jakab as coach, Chris Farren as president, mens and womens first teams consistently in premiership as well as mens and womens second teams competing. Fencing is a target sport with good funding (when compared to other sports) both as an individual and a club, recently the chance to be funded for individual competition.

We also have our own salle (metal floor, wall box, mirrors etc.), with a more modern one planned to be built in the next couple of years (hopefully). We have university training 2/3 times a week (depending on wednesday matches) as well as Lazlo's squad training at the university (membership included in funding) and his club training a short distance away. On top of this there are team durham fitness/ nutritional etc. sessions every week.

Only issue is the distance from competitions really. Some details on www.teamdurham.com but neither the fencing site or facebook group are kept updated really. So Durham isnt bad for fencing!

madfencer
-7th April 2008, 13:06
So Durham isnt bad for fencing!

Foil and Sabre are catered for at Durham very well with Lazslo, then it's only a short hop to Northumbria if you want to do a bit more epee :)

madfencer *praying she gets to Northumbria this time round*

Gangsta G
-7th April 2008, 17:51
Seeing as I'm men's captain I suppose I really ought to plug Birmingham (how apathetic that sounds!)...

We have David Kirby, who as most know has produced some of Britain's best-ever sabreurs (Louise Bond-Williams, Mike Johnson etc) and Mike Whitehouse as coaches. Students are allowed to fence at Birmingham Fencing Club (who train at the University) for free and fencing is a focus sport which gives us weekly strength & conditioning as well as access to the wide-ranging AU support - physios, sports psychologists, AU circuit training, etc. (One of the staff is currently writing a training programme for me).

We're a friendly club who cater for all levels of fencer, from complete beginner to Olympic aspirant, with a great social scene - we make sure that the beginners are just as involved in the social side of the club as the team members.

The city of Birmingham is obviously very well connected which makes getting to opens very easy, as well as training elsewhere - Bath, Bristol, Stratford (where DK runs weekly sabre sessions)... even London.

So yeah, come to Birmingham cos basically we're the best and I promise I'll give you a hug if you do.

The_Boy_ODwyer
-8th April 2008, 09:37
It depends alot on what level the fencer is at when they arrive at uni... Certain clubs are very good for beginners, but don't necessarily have a coach that can train intermediate or advanced fencers, whereas certain clubs are just a bunch of experienced fencers who refuse to have anything to do with novices beyond taking their membership money.

I think this is why the social side of a club is so important, as someone has previously posted it a) makes beginners feel welcome and involved and b) can persuade experienced fencers to come training as they get to know the rest of the club.

At UCL I like to think we have a pretty good mixture of all of the above, we have an excellent coach, Alex Agrenich, three teams in BUSA (Mens southern premier, Womens SE 1a and Mens SE 2a) access to some of the countries best fencing clubs (Scimitar, Haverstock and the rest) and an excellent social side... We can always be found at the pub after training :D

Though naturally the best uni for your course should be the natural choice, as chances are you'll have a good club outside of uni.

The other thing I'd like to say something about is US university fencing. Firstly, theres a good reason fencing is beter funded out there, i.e. the fees they pay to be at uni at all are astronomical and thus the institutions have vast amounts of money to call upon for all areas. Secondly, from what I can gather from US student fencing club websites is that they are purely there for the competing fencers, unlike UK university clubs, the vast majority of whom are there to give students an opertunity to fence who may not have done so at school.

Sorry if that post was a bit rambling...

TLove
-8th April 2008, 11:32
At UCL I like to think we have a pretty good mixture of all of the above, we have an excellent coach, Alex Agrenich, three teams in BUSA (Mens southern premier, Womens SE 1a and Mens SE 2a) access to some of the countries best fencing clubs (Scimitar, Haverstock and the rest) and an excellent social side... We can always be found at the pub after training :D

Having said that, you should come to ULU instead :tongue: j/k

fnork
-8th April 2008, 22:53
Having said that, you should come to ULU instead :tongue: j/k

Why joke?

The_Boy_ODwyer
-8th April 2008, 23:19
Cos if you're in WC1, you clearly ought to be coming to UCL...

Australian
-9th April 2008, 03:58
Cheers for writing us off as a beginners club.
You're wrong by the way :eek:

I've always considered ULU as a beginners club... ;)

Wadders
-9th April 2008, 09:07
Newcastle University has some great opportunities for fencers at any level. For the experienced fencers, there is an elite athlete scheme providing support, advice, training programmes etc for the athletes which will be specific for fencing, as well as bursary schemes ranging from 750 - 1500. There is also a Junior Potential Programme, encouraging the juniors and cadets to get involved, and they are also provided with the same services as the elite athletes. Robynne Stenner is here this year, Louise Creechan is coming up next year, and I'm coming back the year after - so its at a good level!
For beginners, we have two sessions each week, with the focus on the basics, and giving them competition experience (well, BUSA experience!) in our 2nds teams.
We also run a refereeing course, provided for by the university, as well as a coaching course in any weapon, in the Newcastle University Sports Volunteers Programme (again, provided for!).
Now how's that for a university? lol.

daoud
-9th April 2008, 10:34
Yes, the North East (Durham/Newcastle/Northumbria) does seem to offer the best hope for a properly funded UK university fencing centre. The key is to be able to attract (with bursaries and world-class facilities) the best young fencers (as well as the novices) and top-class international coaches, and to provide university funding plus sponsorship plus matching funds from the national sporting bodies.

Swords Crossed
-9th April 2008, 11:04
I have already put my oar in, but I feel it my responsibility to do proper justice to Liverpool Uni FC. We are an extremely friendly, active and competitive club, at one of the best Unis in the country, in a city where there is always something to do. We welcome every standard of fencer, and have an excellent record for training fencers to a high standard, whatever their level when they arrive. Not only do we fence in BUSA (the ladies got to the Semi's in the Trophy this year), but encourage al our fencers to attend opens (we took 5 medals and 2 trophies at the Glasgow Open, including ladies master at arms and ladies epee gold), and a couple of crates of Beer from the organisers! We take great pride in the development of our fencers. In addition to the regular coach (Mike Knowles), we have held intensive weapon specific training days with the likes of Laszlo Jakab and Robert Kiss, and last year were honoured with Presiding Training Mike Thornton. Those of you who are at the top end of the talent scale, Sport Liverpool now offers scholarships of a value of 500-2000. Most of all, we believe that fencing should be fun, whatever you're level!

ScotchWhisky
-9th April 2008, 13:19
I can see this now turning into an advertising compaign, rather than answering the original question! lol. I say go to the university because of the course, not the sport. Oxbridge for arts, Edinburgh/Newcastle for science for example. I've seen many cases of fencers going to a university primarily to fence and not enjoying it, or not doing the course they wanted to do. Fencing is an amateur sport in any case!

Bayston
-9th April 2008, 13:48
Don't know why no one hasnt mentioned Aberystwyth Univeristy in Wales yet! This year we have been the most successful fencing club in the whole of Wales! Both our Mens and Womens 1st Teams won their leagues, we are the only welsh uni with a Mens 2nd Team in Busa, we won the Universities of Wales competition and are hosting it in 2009, we won the Town-Gown and Munrow Trophies, Womens team won the Aber-Bangor Varsity and we are nominated (still waiting for results) for Best Club and Most Improved Club in the Uni. We have 3 BFA qualified coaches, up to 6 days a week training slots (if you can make them). Our Mens and Womens Teams have in the past been in the premiership. However what makes our club unique is the great social side. There are a lot of good clubs in Wales however none have the big family feel that both Aberystwyth and Bangor University have, with a very big friendly group to great you and look after you when you get here it has certainly made us all a very close group!

BTW check out Bangor Uni aswell as they are a great bunch of guys and girls and really good fencers and we love them here at Aber! :D

(BUT beware of Swansea, not the best of fencers and after their "social" at the University of Wales comp not the nicest of clubs!)

mozzar
-9th April 2008, 21:45
Aber's not so great for people who've been fencing for more than a couple of years. Too far for competitions and not enough quality fencers.

It is a great uni to come to mind and i love it. Despite the fact that it's at the arse end of nowhere.

TLove
-9th April 2008, 23:24
Cos if you're in WC1, you clearly ought to be coming to UCL...

Right, I'll see you on the piste for that!
Or maybe just in the pub ;)


I've always considered ULU as a beginners club... ;)

Darn, rumbled!

Bayston
-11th April 2008, 12:53
Aber's not so great for people who've been fencing for more than a couple of years. Too far for competitions and not enough quality fencers.

It is a great uni to come to mind and i love it. Despite the fact that it's at the arse end of nowhere.

STEVE! Support your club! Anyway dont listen too him its a great uni for fencing. Like with most uni's the quality of fencers change each year as people leave and others arrive!

Mike
-11th April 2008, 14:22
Robynne Stenner is here this year, Louise Creechan is coming up next year, and I'm coming back the year after - so its at a good level!

I thought Lou was coming to us?

Moose
-11th April 2008, 16:17
You can't really choose a university based on the uni fencing team. If fencing mattered that much to you then look for the area with the best local clubs and look at what unis are near it.

As far as the university fencers not being serious, I think it's both true and false. Are they serious about their fencing, very often yes, when I was at Leicester Uni we had fencers in the BUSA leagues and also pushed people towards opens and other comps like Excalibur.

At the same time we also took our coach out on his birthday and got him remarkably drunk in one of the local student bars (an act which earned us 1000 sponsorship from said pub).

Uni clubs ARE a lot more socially minded than the local clubs normally are, usually due to the age range of the fencers, but that doesn't mean that they don't also want to fence seriously.

daoud
-11th April 2008, 18:46
The reason universities could be very important for GB fencing is that several of our promising Cadet and Junior fencers found last year that the 2012 Pathway was closed off to those who intended to go onto higher education or who wouldn't relocate to London. This was a bizarre decision without parallel anywhere else in the world. But these young fencers will be entering the universities soon and it would be nice to think that appropriate coaches and support can be provided in the BUSA set-up to provide an alternative pathway to 2012.

hayleyjade
-11th April 2008, 21:58
It is difficult to ensure that uni clubs would be able to run to such a high standard though.

As they are (in most cases) run by students, who also have to try and get degrees, train hard, and spend their time hagling with the student unions, and moreover aren't necessarily management material (have experienced- and was vvvv bad- think trying to overthrow the captain in wk 2), there's going to be peaks and troughs, and unless an infrastructure or a really supportive union system exists, it would be difficult to reach this standard you seek i fear.

H

silvercross
-12th April 2008, 16:29
The reason universities could be very important for GB fencing is that several of our promising Cadet and Junior fencers found last year that the 2012 Pathway was closed off to those who intended to go onto higher education or who wouldn't relocate to London. This was a bizarre decision without parallel anywhere else in the world. But these young fencers will be entering the universities soon and it would be nice to think that appropriate coaches and support can be provided in the BUSA set-up to provide an alternative pathway to 2012.

I would hazard a guess that this is the reason why some fencers (LBW comes to mind) opt to go to the US for their fencing development. They are guaranteed top tier coaching, and if good enough, full tuition scholarships, something few, if any universities outside of Oxbridge can offer here in the UK (not meaning to ruffle any feathers, people, just the way it is).

I have to admit, even offering up to 2,000 in funding on the part of our AU (or 'Sport Liverpool'), it has been difficult getting people to apply, mainly because even 2,000 isn't as much when your average undergraduate arts degree tuition is 3,070. (or so). I would love to see UK universities offer full tuition scholarships to promising athletes, but those come at a social 'investment' to the prospective student/athlete (give up the drink?! :eek: Heavens to murgatroid!). It's all about striking the right balance between work and play.

Oh, and to share in the spirit of Swords Crossed:

-Liverpool Uni: Our coach may only sound like he has an East European accent after he's had a wee too many, and only one of our fencers has GBR on her back (we tried bleach, it just won't wash off!), but Darn it!, it holds a special place in my heart, and I wouldn't trade that for the world (and we won a division title and a promotion to the premier league North when I was in the 'thick of things', so even more happy memories!:) ).Those things you can't judge simply by what the uni has on paper (or in any silly ranking), or by 'how hard' the club is. For everything else, there's mastercard...

And I'm one of those irresponsible people that have not updated their club website. University coursework (and a full time job) have kind of gotten in the way.

creecho
-12th April 2008, 21:44
I thought Lou was coming to us?

Lou's going to Durham