If you have any questions, please contact us.
Phone: (406) 924-3071
I've never fenced before! What do I do?
Show up to club! Even if you're not sure it's something you'd like to, stop by. We're more than happy to explain the game to people. We like to answer questions and help people decide if it's the thing for them. You never know, it might be your next passion.
When/where do you meet?
During the school year (starting on August 29th) we meet on Mondays and Wednesdays from 6pm to 8pm. We fence in Romney gym (3rd floor of the Romney building on campus, located south of the Renne Library and South-west of the SUB). In the summer we typically drop-down to one day a week.
How much does it cost?
Ah, the question on everybody's minds these days. Our fees are a reasonable $50 per semester for MSU students and $100 per semester for non-students. These dues are not required to be paid immediately. We like the try-before-you-buy model, so you've lost nothing if you show up and decide it isn't for you. This fee includes access to check out gear. Group lessons will be conducted on both Mondays and Wednesdays One-on-one lessons outside of this group are left up to the discretion of the instructor (some demand precious gems or metals; others accept food as a form of currency).
What should I bring to club?
Comfortable pants and a pair of indoor shoes with non-marking soles. Yes, you can fence in jeans, but having seen a pair get ripped from crotch to knee, it's highly not recommended. A pair of sweatpants or any other pair of pants you can move around a lot in work well. Don't wear shorts. DO NOT WEAR SHORTS!The legs of shorts are great for collecting errant blades and directing them straight for very...personal...places. As far as shoes, while there are fancy fencing shoes out there, most of our club members wear running shoes. To help keep the gym floor in good shape, please make sure the shoes are clean and suitable for indoor use, and also that they don't leave black marks on the floor.
Do I have to buy gear?
Fencing has expensive gear to buy. We don't require our members to make such an investment. In fact, we encourage our new fencers to borrow gear before jumping into a purchase, just to make sure they're not going to make an investment in a sport they find out they don't want to continue with. The dues for the club cover the cost of borrowing club equipment, including electric gear. If you choose to buy gear, we can help you pick out a vendor and figure out which pieces you need. Check the links to the left for places our members have had good experiences purchasing from.
Does it hurt?
It shouldn't. That's not to say that it can't, but most touches in fencing are no stouter than being gently poked with a finger. If distance lapses or things go wrong, typically the worst a fencer has to deal with is a bruise. We wear a lot of protective gear to prevent any major injuries from occurring.
Is fencing dangerous?
Despite the fact that fencing is a sport evolved from two guys trying to stab each other, fencing is one of the safest sports you can take part in. All weapons are blunted, and we wear plenty of safety gear in case a weapon breaks. It is a club rule that all fencers wear a plastron (under-arm protector) underneath the fencing uniform to protect the fencer in case a weapon breaks. We also are insured through the US Fencing Association for all of our competitions. We do require our members to sign a liability waiver as part of the standard paperwork packet. If the member is under 18 we require a parent or guardian's signature before the fencer is allowed to handle weapons.
What weapons do you fence with?
We have members who are proficient in all three weapons in our club. We also teach all three weapons to students. Typically we start beginning fencers with foil in order to introduce the general concepts of distance, footwork, right-of-way, etc.
Are you a competitive club?
During the fencing season, our members travel throughout the division to attend USFA tournaments. At these tournaments our members do quite well in all three weapons, and nearly every year we have fencers qualify for the annual nationals tournament. Most years we also host at least 2 large (according to Inland Empire Division metrics) tournaments. We like to think people attend our tournaments because we host quality events.
How many competitions a year do you host?
Typically we host around 2 competitions per year (one in the fall semester and one in the spring semester). Sometimes we will host a third special competition if the scheduling works out.
Am I required to get a USFA membership?
You are only required to get a USFA membership if you intend to compete in a USFA-rated event at a tournament in our division. Novice events at our club do not qualify as USFA-rated events, so to compete in these you do not have to purchase a membership. We provide forms for USFA members at all of our events, so you can sign up on the day of if you wish. We also have links to these forms under the "Other Links" section of our site.
I just started fencing, can I still compete?
As long as you have the very basics covered, there's no reason you can't compete. Often we have a "novice" event at our tournaments where beginners can face off against fencers closer to their skill level. Beginning fencers get bumped out of eligibility for novice events once they have either a) won a gold medal in a novice event or b) have been fencing for at least a year.
Do you meet during the summer/Christmas Break/etc?
A good number of our fencers live year round in Bozeman (or the surrounding areas), so often we're around and fencing, even when university classes are not being held. During the summer we only meet once a week, but we're still around.
So, I have this joke about fences and fencing...want to hear it?
If your joke includes any of the phrases "barbed wire", "chicken wire", or "fence post", no we don't want to hear it. If you tell it don't expect us to laugh or crack a smile. In fact, count yourself lucky if all we do is groan and roll our eyes. It's probably good advice to not taunt people who are trained in the use of swords :).