Courses for Beginners and Taster sessions

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If you have ever wondered if fencing was for you then why not try a taster session or one of our beginners’ courses?

Our taster sessions and courses for beginners (minimum age 8) are led by James Kingston, a qualified British Fencing Association coach registered with England Fencing. They take place in the new sports centre of Rye St Antony School: see location.

Fencing courses for Beginners

Click here to see our current courses, and to book tickets.

When a beginners’ course is complete you should be able to compete in a proper fencing bout with your fellow beginners. The weapon used in the beginner’s course is a foil and you can go on to fence with the other weapons; epee and sabre if you decide to continue with the sport.

Please note that a completed form and full payment is required before your place can be confirmed. The cost is £110 and includes use of all equipment.

Please visit our booking site or email with any questions.

Aims and objectives of the fencing course for beginners


  • At the end of the course the participants will be able to practice the conventions of a match in simulated bouts with other course members.
  • They will know sufficient fencing terminology to take individual lessons from a coach and understand help from other experienced fencers within the club.


  • To be able to adopt the correct ‘en garde’ position.
  • To be able to coordinate foot and hand actions to execute a simple attack or a defensive retreat.
  • To appreciate the idea of ‘fencing distance’ and be able to maintain it.
  • To be able to take the ‘high line guards’ in order to execute a simple parry.
  • To be able to execute a simple direct riposte following a parry.
  • To be able to continue a ‘simple attack’, avoiding the simple parry by the use of disengagement’.
  • To understand and be able to state the basic rule of ‘right of way’ for simple attacks and ripostes at foil.
  • To have experienced supervised bouts with other course members.
  • To understand the area of the target at foil, piste layout, basic fencing rules and etiquette.
  • To be familiar with basic piste rules, and the role and powers of the referee.
  • To have gained experience of simple judging of non-electric bouts.
  • To have received an introduction to the world of fencing, club, competitions, the various age groups, the various weapons.
  • To understand that this basic course is an introduction to the world of fencing that can lead, with more experience and practice, to trying other weapons and fencing with more experienced members of the club

Registration and payment for the course must be made in advance by cheque or bank transfer; unfortunately it is not possible to join at the first class of a course.

What happens after the course?

If you enjoy the course and you want to continue with the sport then we would be pleased to welcome you at Oxford Fencing Club as a member. Please visit our membership & fees page for full details of what that entails. Please note that you will need to be a member of British Fencing to fence at OFC (or any fencing club) once you complete a beginner’s course. Details can be found at and the cost of membership starts at £10 per year.

Taster sessions

Our next taster session will be in the spring. If you are interested in attending a future taster session please visit our booking site or email

Taster sessions of about one hour directed by the club coaches give people an idea of what a beginner’s course will be like. You will be shown the basics in footwork as well as having a chance to try the equipment.

This is ideal for adults and juniors who are interested in fencing but are not sure if they want to sign up for the eight week beginner’s course. The cost for the session is £15 payable in advance by card or bank transfer.

A group who attended a recent taster commented:

“Thanks for Friday night. We had a good time and were all surprised just how difficult it is just to stand correctly let alone move forward and back. Please pass on our thanks to the two chaps who tried to show us what to do, it must have felt like trying to pin jelly to a wall!”

The next taster session, which will run later in the year, will be open to adults and juniors (minimum age 8) and all you need to bring is some exercise clothing (e.g. tee shirt, track suit bottoms and non-marking trainers) plus some water. Everything else will be provided.