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intently
-30th July 2008, 18:11
Hello,

I've never fenced before, but my teenage daughter wants to start. She says she knows a lot about it, but I want to double-check because she sometimes gets ahead of herself....

So, what kind of weapon should she start with? It looks like the three choices are sabre, epee, and foil, right? Should I go out and buy her equipment right off the bat?

Sorry if these are dumb questions....

intently
-30th July 2008, 18:14
Oh, and I guess I should ask what equipment she really needs, because she wants me to run out and buy about $1000 worth....

Duncan Rowlands
-30th July 2008, 19:01
Most clubs will lend (or hire at nominal rates) basic kit to beginners, at least for a few weeks, so no need to spend a lot on money until your daughter is sure she wants to fence.

Most beginners start with foil, although some single weapon clubs use whatever is their chosen weapon. After a while on foil your daughter can try out the other tw o& decide what she prefers.

Boo Boo
-30th July 2008, 19:12
Go along to your local club and speak to them about it... find out what equipment they will lend you and what, if any, they expect you to by themselves. Normally they wont expect you to buy anything/much (maybe a glove) and will probably be able to sell it to you or recommend a local/reasonable supplier...

I wouldn't invest in much at all straight away (maybe a glove): get your daughter enrolled in a beginners' course (probably 6 to 10 weeks) and go from there. She may decide that she doesn't actually like it (many people think that fencing will be different than it is) - in which case you save money! If she decides she likes it, she will probably have a better idea of what she needs (and possibly also what weapon she wants to do) by the end of the course...

Ok club fencing equipment (which she would borrow in the mean time) may not be the best in the world, BUT she will get by ;).

Hope that your daughter has fun :)

Boo

Insipiens
-31st July 2008, 06:57
Of course many of the answers you get here will relate to UK fencing and clubs (this being a UK hosted forum) and as your post refers to dollars I guess you are probably in the US. You may find the way clubs work there a little different. [you will get US sourced answers at the forum at fencing.net]

That said, if possible I would avoid rushing out and spending a whole load on new kit if you can. Most of it is the same across all three weapons so it wouldn't be a problem if she decides she has picked the wrong weapon, but she might decide she doesn't like fencing at all. Of course hopefully she will love it.
Foil has often been the traditional starting weapon for everyone and those who want to switch moving to sabre or épée at a later date.
Differences:
epee has a very simple logic - the whole body is target, you must hit with the point, first person to hit gets the point. It's also heavier than the other weapons (and so can hurt more, which is not very much but could put off a delicate daughter; smaller size weapons used generally by under 14s)
foil - must hit with the point. target restricted to the torso, points determined by the concept of "right of way" so who is attacking is important. lighter than épée. Right of wayand point rule can mean that you learn fundamentals of control and need to defend that help in all weapons but that is debatable.
sabre - can hit with the point or the edge. target is everything above the waist. also has right of way concept.

The US women dominate international sabre fencing so if she wants to be inspired in her weapon by US olympic medals sabre would be the obvious choice.