We’re ready to restart club sessions again. Our first club meeting of this year will be on Tuesday 8th June 20:00 – 22:00. We will also resume Friday sessions this week, the first being 11th June 19:15 – 21:45.
Like our sessions in Autumn 2020, you will need to book a place at a session, and booking will be available from 10am on the day. There’s a button in the sidebar to take you to the booking site (which is the same as we use for memberships). Everyone who was a member when we stopped fencing in October has already had their membership duration extended to account for all the time that we were not fencing this year.
Club sessions have changed a little bit from what you may be used to.
You must book a space at a session before you leave home, and complete the health questions for everyone (including parents/volunteers) who will be entering the school site. If there are no tickets available, then please do not come.
Everyone in the sports hall should wear a face mask (or fencing mask liner) at all times.
Parents/guardians who wish to accompany their children MUST remain in the hall for the duration, and will be asked to help out with running the session.
Read the instructions (download link below) to familiarise yourself with what to do.
Take things easy when fencing, it’s great to be back but it’s been a while.
We plan to resume club sessions from 8th June. For the first few sessions, the focus will be on fencers who already know the sport to make sure that we can operate safely as a club. Once that’s completed and we’re running regular fencing sessions, we hope to be able to open our beginners courses and taster sessions to new fencers who’d like to get started.
If you’d like us to let you know when we announce courses, please sign up below.
Following the announcement of the government’s latest roadmap out of COVID restrictions in England, it looks like we might be able to hold sessions from mid-May onwards. Of course, this is subject to relaxation of the current rules, and the number of cases continuing to reduce.
We are not holding club sessions on account of the high COVID transmission rate in Oxford. It is the club’s ambition to offer training sessions for under-18s and fitness/footwork sessions for over-18s in the new year, once the COVID alert level is reduced. Whilst Oxford remains in Tier 3 or higher, we don’t plan to hold any training sessions. Regular sessions will commence for all once we return to Tier 1, or the government guidance changes.
Sessions will be announced here, and we will email also all current members ahead of sessions being available. Hope to see you on piste soon!
It looks like we will not be able to offer fencing sessions in November because of the new lockdown rules that were announced by the prime minister on 31st October and which will be applied from 5th November.
It had been our hope to be able to offer something for junior members whilst Oxford was in COVID Tier 2 since there are specific exemptions under that scheme for activities for younger people. We do not think that this will be possible now. We will keep abreast of the guidance from British Fencing and the government and make announcements here as soon as we know more.
We held our first ‘proper’ Tuesday club session on 1st September. Whilst it was less-busy than we’d normally see on a regular Tuesday night, 6 fencers (one bubble) arrived to train. I’m posting this update to let you know how we got on and what we think of the various new rules.
Thank you to everyone who took some time to complete the survey that we posted last week to understand your thoughts about returning to fencing. I wanted to give you an overview of everyone’s opinion because this informs the way that the club will begin to operate again. We’ve been working on a risk assessment for club sessions, and will be sharing it with the school this week to make sure that we’re all happy. I will also make a post here with that once we’ve finalised a couple of small details.
What people are planning or hoping to do
The majority (78%) of you are planning to return to training as soon as you can, or will wait until the social distancing rules are relaxed a little further.
In addition, 87% of you would like to return at a similar level of commitment/frequency, with a small number feeling that other commitments would mean they could come less-often.
Fears or concerns about returning to club
Many of the respondents to the survey expressed concern about catching COVID-19 from club kit, or lack of proper social distancing. There were also concern regarding whether it would be safe to resume fencing, and how we would manage club sessions (warm-up, fighting, lessons) and the extra requirements that the new rules will call for.
The vast majority of respondents to this survey stated that they had their own kit, which makes managing the club kit somewhat easier than it could have been. We have a plan to allocate club equipment to members who don’t have their own and will detail how this will work later. We’ve also been thinking about how to handle the electric boxes and weapons and have a strategy for this too. I will publish this once the risk assessment is agreed with the school.
Face masks have been mentioned as a way to reduce the spread of the virus, but there has also been evidence published in the July 2020 edition of The Sword (page 26) which suggests that they are risky to wear during fights because they prevent efficient breathing. The club is going to ask you to wear masks where possible, and we will be issuing guidance on this soon. The majority of respondents were willing to provide a mask themselves, so this will be the option that we will choose.
What we hope to offer
There are many aspects to a regular club session, and unsurprisingly, there was a lot of variation in what you’d all like to see. From the responses, we will aim to provide warm-up and footwork exercises, fighting/sparring on the electric equipment, and lessons in some form. These may all need to be modified to take account of the new rules, and we will be able to tell you more about this soon.
What you’re looking forward to
Everyone’s looking forward to getting back to fencing again, meeting our friends and doing some training. Like you, I can’t wait to be back in the fencing hall doing some sparring and footwork practice.
As part of planning for how we will return to fencing sessions, we are conducting a survey to see what our members point of view is. Your answers will affect how we move the club back towards regular sessions, so please do take a couple of minutes to share your feedback.