Club Sessions Restart 8th June 2021

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.

Please have a look at the updated information and risk assessment since it’s not exactly the same as last year. That information is linked here: https://oxfordfencingclub.co.uk/2021/06/05/club-session-information-2/

You can now:

  • Fence anyone who’s in the hall for up to 30 hits or 20 minutes (whichever is shorter).
  • Fleche, providing that a club coach has agreed that both fencers are capable of avoiding each other.
  • Use the changing rooms, subject to maximum 3 people at a time. We’d appreciate if you arrived in your kit and got changed at home though.

You still must:

  • Wear a face mask whilst fencing.
  • Keep socially distant to everyone.
  • Parents still may not enter the school site to drop-off/pick-up children – you’ll need to come into the hall to assist with running the session.

Coming to the Club

Club sessions have changed a little bit from what you may be used to.

  1. 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.
  2. Everyone in the sports hall should wear a face mask (or fencing mask liner) at all times.
  3. 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.
  4. Read the instructions (download link below) to familiarise yourself with what to do.
  5. Take things easy when fencing, it’s great to be back but it’s been a while.

Please note that the instructions were updated on 31 Aug 2020 to reflect that the Franklin Road gate will not be open on a timer and that you will need to use the code as before.

Club Sessions Start in June

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.

New Fencers

If you’d like us to let you know when we announce courses, please sign up below.

March 2021 Update

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.

British Fencing has posted their understanding of the current roadmap here: https://www.britishfencing.com/roadmap_for_easing_of_restrictions/ and we’ll update our plans once we know when we’ll be able to open again.

December 2020 Update

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!

No Sessions in November 2020

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.

Return to Fencing – Your Thoughts

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.

78% of respondents would like to return as soon as they can, and the remainder will wait a little longer to see how things pan out.

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.

Equipment

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.

80% of respondents were prepared to provide their own facemark, and 93% were willing to wear a mask in the sports hall when appropriate.

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.