Tournaments

NATIONAL TOURNAMENT SCHEDULES

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See USA FENCING (www.usfencing.org) for all Regional and National Tournament schedules.


TOURNAMENT ABCs

As a fencer or parent new to competitive fencing, the structure, schedules, rules, requirements, even the vocabulary, can be daunting.  You hear the coaches, fencers and parents talking about NACs, SYCs, ROCs, ratings, rankings…what do they all mean?  Here are Windy City Fencing’s Competition FAQs that will help your child get started:

FENCING COMPETITION FAQs 
Which competitions should I attend?
How much does it cost?
What is an RYC?
What is an SYC?
What is an ROC/NOC?
What is a NAC?
What events am I eligible for?
How do I qualify for Summer Nationals?  
What Equipment do I need?
Do I need to join the US Fencing Association?
How do I register and what is askfred?
When should I arrive?
What happens at a tournament?
What is a national ranking, why do I want one and how do I get one?
What is a rating, why do I want one and how do I get one?
My question isn’t here.

Which competitions should I attend?  
You should consult with the head coach before making any final decisions, but here are some general guidelines.  Beginning fencers should start with local youth tournaments.  Youth tournaments have age divisions, denoted by the top age allowed in the division (for example Y10 is 10 and under, and your “fencing age” is your age as of January 1 of that calendar year).  More experienced fencers interested in competing nationally will probably want to start with the Chicago Regional Youth Circuit (“RYC”) tournament, followed by Super Youth Circuit Tournaments, the USFA North American Cup (NAC) tournaments, and the USFA Summer Nationals.  There is no limit to the number of tournaments that a fencer can attend during a fencing season, but coaching will not be available at all tournaments.  “Open” tournaments are generally for high school fencers and older.

How much does it cost?  
The entry fees for a competition range from $20 to $120, with the local tournaments’ fees generally being less expensive. IMPORTANT NOTE:  For an out-of-town tournament, the Club divides the travel costs of the coach (if a coach attends) among every participant in the tournament.  You will receive an e-mail with your share of the expenses before the tournament.  There is also a coaching fee for tournaments (although coaching is optional).  For out-of-town tournaments, the fee is $50 for the first event, and $30 for each additional event.  For local tournaments, it is $20/event.

What is an RYC?  
An RYC is a Regional Youth Circuit tournament.  You cannot earn USFA national points at an RYC, but attendance does qualify you for Y10 and Y12 events at Summer Nationals and the North American Cup tournaments.  You cannot earn a rating at an RYC unless there are enough C rated fencers attending (this is unlikely).

What is an SYC? 
An SYC is a Super Youth Circuit tournament.  These are bigger national tournaments designed to provide national level competition to youth fencers.  If you place in the top 40% of your event, you will earn national ranking points.  Y14 events may also be big enough that you will have the opportunity to earn a rating if you finish in the top 8 or so.  You can attend as many SYCs as you choose, but points from only one SYC will count in the national rankings.  For Y10 and Y12, attendance at a SYC will qualify you for the NAC and for Nationals.

What is an ROC/NOC?  
The USFA has recently created a “Regional Open Circuit” (also called the “National Open Circuit”) to provide larger opens that are not as focused on the elite fencers as the Div. I NACs.  These are generally very good competitions.  They also constitute a qualifying path for Div. 1A at Summer Nationals.  More information is available at Askfred’s USFA ROC site.

What is a NAC?  
A NAC is a North American Cup tournament run by the USFA.  All of the best fencers in the country attend the NACs.  You must attend an RYC or an SYC to qualify to fence in Y10 or Y12.  There are no qualification requirements to fence in Y14 or the older age groups (Cadets and Juniors) at a NAC.  You can earn national points if you finish in the top 40%, and they will round up to include that entire bracket to a maximum of 32 fencers.

What events am I eligible for?
AGE and CLASSIFICATION ELIGIBILITY. 

How do I qualify for Summer Nationals?  
2017 NATIONAL EVENT QUALIFICATION PATHS

What Equipment do I need?  
Check out the EQUIPMENT page.

Do I need to join the US Fencing Association? 
You must be a USFA member to compete in RYCs, SYCs and NACs.  Some local tournaments may require membership.  You can usually join at the tournament when you get there.  You must bring your membership card to the tournament.  If you don’t, you will be required to join again.

How do I register and what is askfred?  
AskFRED.net is a clearinghouse for fencing tournaments.  Many, but not all, tournaments are listed here.  You can search for tournaments, pre-register, see who else is pre-registered, get the day schedule and find out hotel information at askfred.  You can usually register for local tournaments and RYCs the day of the event (for an extra fee).  Information and registration forms for the NACs and some of the Super Youths are available at www.usfencing.org and (check both schedule and documents links).  Information for local tournaments may also be available at the Illinois Division website, www.il-usfa.com.  Tournament results can usually be found at askfred, the Illinois Division website or the USFA website, depending on the event.

When should I arrive? 
The event time listed for a tournament is the close of registration time.  You should arrive early enough to check-in, get your equipment checked and warm-up.  Check-in at local tournaments shouldn’t take too long.  At larger tournaments you will probably want to arrive at the venue at least an hour before close of registration.  Depending on the tournament, they may conduct a safety test on your mask and check your body cords and blades to make sure they are legal and working.

What happens at a tournament?  
Assuming the tournament is running on schedule, your event will begin between 15 minutes and an hour after the close of registration time.  The smaller the tournament, the sooner it will start.

The group of fencers will be divided into pools of no more than eight fencers.  You will fence every fencer in your pool.   These bouts consist of best of five points in a three-minute time limit.  The results from the pools will be used to seed the direct elimination bouts (just like NCAA brackets).  At most youth tournaments, everyone advances to the direct elimination (DE) bouts.  For Y10 and Y12, DE bouts are best-of-3 five-point bouts, with a 1 minute break between bouts.  For Y14, it’s a 15 point bout with three 3 minute periods.  If you win your DE, you go on to the next round.

Before you fence, your “strip director” will check your weapon to make sure it is working properly.  You must have at least two weapons available in case one of them fails.  If one fails, you will get a yellow card for that bout.  If none of your weapons pass the test, you will not be permitted to fence.

What is a national ranking, why do I want one and how do I get one?  
The USFA ranks fencers who have earned national points at SYCs, NACs or Summer Nationals.  You earn points by finishing in the top 40% of your group at one of these tournaments.  The points are used to seed fencers in the pools of SYCs, NACs and Summer Nationals.  As a youth fencer, it is not that important to focus on national points, although some of the top fencers do factor this in.  For Cadet, Junior, and Senior fencers, points matter to qualify for international tournaments and USA teams.

What is a rating, why do I want one and how do I get one?  
Ratings are designed to indicate a fencer’s ability.  Fencers are rated from U (unrated) to E (the lowest rating) then up to A (the highest rating).   Ratings are used to seed the pools at tournaments.  At national tournaments, a combination of ratings and rankings are used to seed pools.  Some events have rating eligibility requirements (for example, C and under), but these events are usually for older fencers.    Whether or not you can earn a rating at a tournament depends on the number and quality of fencers.  The rating classification chart is available at http://askfred.net/Info/eventClass.php.

My question isn’t here.  
Ask the head coach.  Or, ask one of the parents whose kid currently competes; we remember when our child began to competitively fence. http://www.usfencing.org/news_article/show/524823-2015-16-national-event-qualification-paths