Anyone do fencing?

I’ve been in a weird funk lately and I am trying to find new hobbies that don’t involve my computer. As a random idea that popped into my head was to join a fencing club and learn that.

Anyone here fence? Is it decent exercise? Is it fun? Is it expensive (equipment wise I guess)?

Not exactly what you’re looking for but anyway. I learned Kendo for a couple of years and it was great fun (and excellent exercise).
Plus the dress code is much cooler (than fencing).

I guess if you’ve got the contacts for it, but watch out for the long arm of the law.


I’ve done HEMA, and personally would not even bother with sport fencing (and despite a keen interest in Japanese culture and swordsmanship…kendo doesn’t seem like my thing, either). However, a lot depends on where you are. I’d be happy to answer any and all questions about it (that is, historical European swordsmanship), but it is not what I’d call a cheap hobby.

Just hurricane and white picket for me.

Thanks for the replies. There seem to be places here for all of them so I’ll do some more research.

Why do you like HEMA but not Kendo?

Ive fenced since high school off and on including on my college team. Its great exercise, moderately expensive to start with gear, but most fencing salles are reasonable after the initial gear expense. Similar in pricing to martial arts dojos in my experience

Fencing is like an rts - theres always a counter to what your opponent does, but youll have to have the quick thinking and muscle memory to do it in time. Its great fun.

There is a guy in LA that runs some cheap group sword fighting training on sundays. I’ve been curious enough to think about going but never motivated enough to actually go.

Let me know your experience and maybe it’ll get my off my lazy Sunday ass and hunt some orc.

I fenced for a couple of semesters but fell off when it was time to buy equipment. A buddy of mine kept with it and competed in some state competitions. It’s good exercise, especially for flexibility and hand-eye coordination (hope you like lunges!).

The biggest surprise for me starting out was how formal it is. There are rules for what’s considered a strike and a parry and you only score if your hit follows the right form. Once you get the hang of it, the pacing is a little like ping-pong: frantic rallies that end when someone gets tired and slips up.

I fenced for the University of Michigan for several years. Fencing is ridiculously fun and exceptionally rewarding, but prepare to have the most painful and grueling workouts of your life. You’ll use muscles in your groin, butt, and insides of your legs you never knew existed. I’d also suggest you go foil over epee or saber. Saber boils down to slaps, and it is damn hard to hold an epee for a reaosnable amount of time.

Kendo, at least as practiced near me, looks a lot more like sport fencing to me than it does like “fighting”. The degree to which HEMA corresponds to actual fighting is debatable, but I think it’s a lot closer, and it certainly tries harder to keep applicability in mind. Actually this is not universally true, and the growth of the tournament scene has certainly had a negative impact in this regard, in my opinion. To boil it down, to me it’s a martial art where Olympic fencing and kendo are sports.

Do you mind saying who? I wonder if I know him.

I fenced through all of high school but fell off of it since. It is a lot of fun and a good workout. There was a great community, classes, and relatively cheap equipment rental through the local club. Might be worth checking out to see if there’s one active in your area:

Okay. Serious answer. When I lived in Detroit my wife at the time was a brown belt in karate. She introduced me to a teacher who also taught kendo. After a few lessons I got tired of the sensei whacking me on the head and shoulders. I went home with ringing in my ears and bruises. It didn’t last long. :)

Oh yeah, if you don’t want bruises, then I recommend you do not try HEMA, hehe.

Hey let me know if you’re ever going to do this. Would be interested in trying it out for fun.

It is. A lot of HEMA people don’t care for either sport because they don’t teach actual fighting, it’s all about point scoring. Doing the stuff that wins in fencing and kendo is stuff that would get you killed in a dueling scenario. Getting the first hit while also being run through a fraction of a second later doesn’t do much for you in a duel.

Or to leave it to Matt Easton:

I have fenced for over 30 years starting in high school. It’s a very fun sport, but be aware that it is a sport. You will not be swashbuckling a la Errol Flynn. Most places offering beginner lessons will usually provide the basic gear so the cost to try it out is not too bad. If you do like it, then getting you own gear involves a bit of up front cost to get the clothing weapons and accessories, but after that, it;s mostly replacing broken blades.

Oh yeah I have no delusion of it’s realisticness, I’m more interested in the “is it fun” aspect.

It is fun, it’s a good combination of physical ability and mental analysis of your opponent’s actions. Plus it really feels good to just hit somebody with a pointed stick.

Like the other answers here, I fenced in college. I turns out I had a knack for it and I was nationally ranked in college. Of the three weapons in sport fencing my favorite was the saber, but I was best at epee, I won the state championship back in the day. (insert Al Bundy joke here)

Anyway, try it out. Fencers are a nerdy bunch just like us here, I’d say about 50% work in IT or tech. So you will probably find good company. I’ve never seen an unwelcoming club either, they are always looking for new members and people who want to try it out.

Just like a martial arts dojo, there will be a master/head of the club that runs it. This person gets to wear a cool black extra padded fencing jacket because they get poked by students a lot (on purpose).

At the super highest levels, I might agree with the video above about sport fencing being “real” swordmanship. Those Olympians have kind of mad a mockery of the sport, with double touches all the time and a heavy reliance on electronics. I think it would actually be cooler to ditch the electric stuff and use the old 5 judge method. It would slow it down and make it way more interesting to watch, I think. But I digress.

Try out fencing! It’s awesome!