Youth Fencing Team for ages 8-12
Presidio's Youth team introduces the sport of fencing to Santa Barbara children, and brings aspiring athletes to the point where they can compete in tournaments. The program runs year-round with classes starting at 4:00 pm. Classes, which are a mix of novice and experienced fencers, are organized into both group and individual lesson formats followed by opportunities for sparring. Children start in a group, where they work on their coordination and learn fencing-related movements. Once they have exceeded the novice level, they are scheduled into short, but intense, private sessions with experienced fencers. The group lessons impart a team atmosphere to the athletes and teach the basics of the sport. Individual lessons help hone technique. Sparring sessions help ready the fencers for competition.
Membership in the program is $60/month for one class/week or $120/month for unlimited attendance. An introductory rate of $60 is available for the first month, but keep in mind that new fencers will not be allowed to spar until they can demonstrate some of the basic fencing actions in a safe manner. For insurance purposes, proof of membership in the United States Fencing Association is required in order to attend classes. Membership is $5, and expires on July 31. It can be purchased online by visiting the US Fencing Association's web page, or you can fill out a form at your first class.
We try to provide equipment, but participants should start acquiring their own gear after the first couple of months.
Read below for more information on our individual classes. Our Youth Program is for athletes between 3rd and 7th grades. Those in 8th grade and up should attend our Senior Drill classes. Residents of Northern Santa Barbara County should look into our Presidio North classes, held Tuesday nights in Los Olivos. We ask that beginners continue to attend Drill classes until they have developed the skills and confidence necessary for fencing with others. At that point, and when students have their own electric gear, the Monday evening Sparring classes become available. Most participants in our Youth Program attend classes 2-3 days per week.
Youth Drill Classes
Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Much like playing an instrument, fencing involves constant attention to technique. Our group drill classes emphasize improving overall coordination, balance, and manual dexterity; building self-confidence; learning etiquette through competitiveness; and gaining an understanding of the basic rules for foil fencing.
In any given class, students will work with balls and bean bags to develop hand-eye coordination, with wall targets to improve manual dexterity, or with various functional exercises and games to increase their strength and flexibility. We will spend a considerable amount of time doing footwork exercises, and playing games with partners to build a competitive -- yet fun -- atmosphere. Even though this is a "fencing class" we do a lot more than just sword fight. Fencing is as much about problem solving and body awareness as it is about holding a sword.
Youth Private Lessons
Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 4:15 pm - 5:30 pm
Beginning in September 2013, we are including private lessons in our youth curriculum. Lessons are an important part of learning the sport. They familiarize fencers with terminology, allow the development of muscle memory, and hone technical and tactical awareness with an "opponent" who will allow touches to be made against himself. In this way, fencers learn the correct maneuvers without having to always worry about being attacked back. We save that for sparring...
Youth fencers will be allowed to schedule one private lesson per week, so long as the schedule allows. Each coach will only have time for 3-5 lessons a day. Additional lessons per week may be arranged, but each additional lesson scheduled per week will increase the monthly rate by $60. Please keep in mind that lessons only last between 10 and 15 minutes, and they cannot be made up. If a student misses her scheduled time, then that lesson is considered spent. During private lessons, youth fencers are expected to exhibit independence, focus, and competitive drive. Fencers only get out of lessons what they put in.
Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 5:00 pm - 5:30 pm and
Mondays from 6:00 pm until closing
If drill classes are comparable to music lessons, sparring classes are like playing in a band with friends. Sparring gives athletes an opportunity to practice in a more realistic and competitive setting.
Sparring is allowed for a half-hour after every drill class in order to give students an opportunity to try and implement what they have just learned. The more-advanced students may be encouraged to also come to sparring on Monday nights, where they will cross blades with athletes who are older and often more competitive than they are. Monday night sparring classes require personal electric gear.
Initially, our fencers compete in the Central Coast Youth Circuit, a series of tournaments managed by the Central Coast Fencing Foundation. This fun series comprises five tournaments a year and is attended by fencers from San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Ventura Counties. Participants earn points each tournament, and overall champions are crowned at the end of the season. For more information, please visit the Foundation's website: www.centralcoastfencing.org.
Although we have some equipment that may be borrowed, fencers will need to purchase most of their own gear before entering tournaments. Visit our Equipment page for a list of vendors and what to buy.
Our advanced youth fencers will also travel to larger events in Los Angeles, the Bay Area, and other parts of the country. Some of these tournaments allow fencers to compete for their middle school; others promote competition at the National level.