Who’s ready for lessons?

You should have a good grasp of the basics before you start individual lessons. While it is possible to learn beginning fencing through individual lessons, you don’t get the extra practice time and group interaction that classes provide.

Parents, ask your child’s coach about whether your child is ready for individual lessons. We look for a degree of enthusiasm from the student and a desire to work hard and improve. If your child is not particularly interested in lessons, they won’t have much effect.

When you’re ready to start, talk to a coach about schedules. Our coaches have different lesson schedules depending on the classes they teach. We can recommend which coach is available for the weapon you want lessons in. We give lessons in all three weapons. Please consult with the coach you’d like to work with before you book your first appointment.

What are lessons for?

While private lessons do include teaching of new techniques, their primary purpose is to train fencers’ reactions to tactical situations. Fencers must react instinctively to subtle differences in the coach’s signals. As in any martial art, this happens through concentrated practice over time. For this training to be effective, consistency is important. One or two lessons before a national tournament will not have much benefit.

Students taking lessons should also participate in group activities, either group classes or open fencing. Lessons alone do not accomplish much. Practice time with other fencers is important to learn how to make actions from lessons work on the strip.

How much do they cost?

Drop-in lessons for all ages are $40 each. There are discounts for purchasing lessons in blocks of 4, 8, or 20. You can buy a lesson card at the front desk,  or online through our membership system. We keep lessons recorded electronically so you don’t have to worry about losing your lesson card. Prepaid lessons expire 1 year after purchase.

When can I take lessons?

We give individual lessons during all of our open fencing times, before classes Monday through Friday, and during some class times as well. We generally recommend one lesson a week for beginning and intermediate level fencers, two lessons a week for competitive fencers, and two to three lessons a week for high-level competitors. Talk to your coach to arrange a lesson schedule.

We prefer that lessons be scheduled in advance through our online membership system whenever possible. This helps the coaches plan their time, and everyone knows when their lesson is scheduled.

If you would like a regular day and time for your lesson, ask our staff to set it up for you. We will add a lesson card to your account and set up the appointments all at once. If you would like to book occasional lesson appointments, use the Make Appointments feature in the membership portal. Note that while you can pay for lessons individually, if you’re going to take more than one within the near future it’s easier if you pay for a lesson card first, then make the appointments using that card.

If you don’t schedule a time in advance, you can still come sign up on the lesson board at the club. Please sign up on the board as soon as you come into the club. We will do our best to work you into the schedule. Please write your first name and last initial on the board clearly, so we know who to record in the computer!

The coaches have a limited amount of time each night for lessons. Occasionally, not everyone who signs up will get a lesson. When that happens, we will try our best to let the affected students know as early as possible. We would rather postpone a lesson to another day than give everyone shorter and less effective lessons. Again, input from the students about their schedule restrictions is always helpful.

Cancellation policies

Lessons can be scheduled individually through our membership system, or we can reserve a regular day and time for you. In either case, if you need to cancel a scheduled lesson, please let us know at least 24 hours in advance. If you cancel with shorter notice or do not show up for your appointment, you may be charged for the lesson.

Having a reserved day and time for your lessons helps everyone plan their schedules, and encourages regular attendance. However, if you have a regular timeslot reserved and you miss more than 25% of your lessons — with or without advance notice — we reserve the right to award your timeslot to another student who can attend regularly.

Other information

Lessons are approximately 20 minutes in length. The exact length of the lesson is at the coach’s discretion, and is based on factors such as how long it takes the student to warm up and focus, how long the student will last before becoming too tired to execute actions properly, and the intensity level of the lesson. A 15-minute non-stop competition lesson to an advanced fencer can have just as much value as a 25-minute explanatory lesson to a lower-level fencer. A ten-year-old may not be able to last more than fifteen minutes, whereas an older student can take a longer lesson.

Coaches welcome input from their students on what they want to work on. This can include everything from specific techniques and tactics that they feel need work on, to competition strategy and long-term goals.

Please also note our lesson policies outlined on our Team RCFC page.