First of all, above everything else, we recognise that if a sport isn't fun and engaging, children will lose interest and give up. We, as part of the fencing community, want to ensure they do enjoy and continue. As parents we want them to love what they do, challenge themselves and learn skills that they can benefit from as they grow up and mature.
We at Fernwood will work hard to make this happen.
There is no way of identifying a child who will take to fencing and love it as much as we do.
There's no body type, it doesn't favour girls or boys; it doesn't favour those who are stronger or more aggressive than their peers. It's how you use your particular strengths that matters.
We have a wide variety through our doors. Children who enjoy gaming, lego building, robotics and some who have never really shown an interest in other sports. But also cricketers, rugby players, footballers, track and field athletes.......
What we do find is that for children who enjoy not only a mental challenge, a puzzle to solve, but also have bundles of energy that needs a physical activity to manage it, fencing is a great fit.
Also, if your child likes to be in control of a strategy, without relying on a team, that also might indicate that he or she would enjoy fencing.
In some ways the sport is similar to gymnastics, ballet, skating or diving and children who have an interest in one or more of these may find fencing equally challenging and rewarding.
We also have fencers who also participate in martial arts disciplines. The importance of footwork and precise movement in these arts are similar in nature to the needs of fencing.
At this point, lets reiterate the point that fencing is not just a boys' sport even though some people seem to think it is. There are considerable numbers of girls and women who thrive in the sport.
What amazes many is that, while women were fencing in the Olympics before they were doing gymnastics, there have been barriers up until recently that have been difficult to comprehend. Women were only included in the Olympic Epee competition in 1996 and in sabre, only from 2004. These barriers were broken and women's fencing goes from strength to strength.