Youth Fencing Program
The goal of Presidio's Youth Program is to introduce the sport of fencing to Santa Barbara-area youth, and to bring those athletes to a level where they can compete in tournaments. The program runs year-round with classes starting at 4:00 pm.
Membership in the program is $105/month for unlimited attendance, or $60 for one class/week. An introductory rate of $60 is available for the first month. 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.
We try to provide equipment, but participants should start acquiring their own gear after the first couple of months.
The drill classes listed below are for athletes in elementary school and middle school. 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 Monday 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, the Sparring classes will become available. Most participants in our Youth Program attend classes 2-3 days per week.
Introduction to Fencing
Tuesdays at 4:00 pm -- Ages 8-13
Introductory Drills are classes for students who are new to the sport of fencing. Classes help children develop a foundation for sport fencing through games and exercises in a fun-filled environment.
Each week we learn new skills to build upon the previous week’s lesson. After four weeks, fencers will have the basics down and be ready to continue with the regular drills classes. The curriculum of this class resets at the beginning of the month.
Youth 10 Drills
Thursday at 4:00 pm -- Ages 8-10
Much like playing an instrument, fencing involves constant attention to technique. Our Youth 10 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. Drills revolve around a set curriculum of movements, "touching" an opponent and willingly being "touched." Classes are meant to familiarize fencers with terminology, to impart muscle memory, and to hone technique with practice.
Youth 12 Drills
Monday at 4:00 pm -- Ages 10-13
The drills taught in these classes tend to be more complicated than those in the Youth 10 class. Here, lessons focus on setting up compound maneuvers to trick one’s opponent, and the physical and mental coordination needed for execution tends to be fairly complex.
Fencers at this level are expected to exhibit independence, focus, and competitive drive. They are also expected to attend Sparring Classes in order to practice what they’ve learned in their lessons.
Tuesdays and Thursdays at 4:00 pm -- Ages 8-14
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 held in conjunction with Youth 10 Drills on Thursdays to give the older students an opportunity to practice. In some Sparring classes, we may set up mini-tournaments and challenge ladders for participants, paying careful attention to the disparity between fencers' ages. In most cases, Youth sparring classes are separated into the three age groups: Youth 10 (ages 8-10), Youth 12 (ages 11-12), and Youth 14 (ages 13-14). More advanced students may be encouraged to fence in higher age groups, if they show interest. Electrical equipment is optional for youth sparring classes.
Initially, our fencers compete locally in the Central Coast Youth Circuit, a series of tournaments managed by the Central Coast Fencing Foundation. This fun event comprises five tournaments a year: a kick-off tournament in October in Los Olivos; a second tournament in Santa Barbara in November; a third event in San Luis Obispo in January; a fourth event in Santa Barbara in March; and the final tournament in May in San Luis Obispo. Fencers 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.
Our more advanced Youth Fencers will travel to larger events in Los Angeles and the Bay Area. Some of these tournaments allow fencers to compete for their middle school; others promote competition at the National level.