Beginners Course Syllabus

The six-week beginners’ course follows the syllabus:


  • to introduce complete newcomers to the modern sport of fencing
  • by the end of the course beginners should be able to successfully achieve BFA Foil Level 1
  • to ensure that beginners’ have the knowledge and skills to become full club members
  • to have fun!

Week 1

  • Fencing kit – can dress in plastron, jacket, chest protector, glove, mask
  • Adopt an on-guard position – feet and legs
  • Footwork – advance and retire
  • Grip – hold a foil correctly
  • Parts of a foil – correctly naming all parts of a weapon
  • Etiquette – salute and handshake to coaches and partners
  • Hit a target (glove, mask, person) at riposte distance
  • Lunge from an on-guard position.

Week 2

  • Recap
  • Demonstrate a salute
  • On-guard – correct arm position in sixte
  • Lunge from on-guard
  • Step-lunge
  • Footwork – advance, retire, lunge
  • Simple attacks from sixte – direct, disengage
  • Guards/Parries – quarte and sixte
  • Etiquette – demonstrate proper salute, handshake for the end of a bout.

Week 3

  • Recap
  • Refine footwork
  • Refine guards of sixte and quarte
  • Lunge to hit opponent in sixte and quarte
  • Parry and direct riposte
  • Cut-over attack / parry riposte
  • Counter disengage / parry riposte.

Week 4

  • Recap
  • Low line attacks
  • Semi circular parries – octave and septime
  • Compound attacks high line – one-two and cut-over disengage
  • Judgement of distance – using footwork to avoid attacks (not parrying)
  • Fence a bout – judges etc. salutes and handshakes
  • Understand the layout of a piste.

Week 5

  • Recap
  • Footwork – reprise of attack and balestra-lunge
  • Circular parries of quarte and sixte
  • Doublé attack
  • Compound or successive parries.

Week 6

  • Recap
  • Demonstrate a good fencing stance
  • Be able to retire and advance correctly
  • Lunge correctly and recover
  • Demonstrate guards and 4 simple parries
  • Execute simple attacks
  • Execute a lateral parry and direct riposte
  • Assessment: Level 1 Test/Award.

If you continue fencing, you have the option to compete at local or regional level in fencing tournaments.

Looking to Purchase your own fencing equipment? See our Equipment Guide (pdf document)

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