The beginners course can take complete novices and give them the fundamental groundings to be able to fence foil, after which you can stay with foil, or branch out into saber or épée.

All equipment is provided and you will be coached by qualified members of the fencing club. Please visit our stall in fresher’s fair for more information or e-mail the beginners’ secretary if you missed us!

Beginners are those who have never fenced before or have fenced very little (generally less than 50 hours). Fencers are registered as social members of the British Fencing Association and thus are insured to fence at the club. Fencers should wear indoor sports shoes, a t-shirt and jogging bottoms. Flat, thin soled shoes are best. Avoid jeans and shorts.

Times and further information (such as price) can be seen here. To keep up to date on training times, socials, and more, you can subscribe to the beginner’s mailing list.

The following is a rough description of the syllabus followed by beginners:

  • Week 1: Description of foil, on guard position, steps, lunge.
  • Week 2: Step lunge, parry quarte & parry sixte..
  • Week 3: Rules of foil. Disengage, cut-over,
  • Week 4: Bouts + beat attack
  • Week 5: Circular parries of quarte and sixte
  • Week 6: Footwork, distance and timing
  • Week 7: Parry Septime, parry Octave
  • Week 8: Bouts + review

The beginners of each year also field a team for Novice Varsity with Cambridge, with a prize in the Summerbell-Jones trophy. The competition is fun for all involved, win or lose, and something to work towards competitively for novices.


Intermediates have been training longer than beginners, and so have the basics. Training includes free fencing time in the club, and coached group sessions in saber and foil every week. Equipment is also provided by the club.

Fencers should wear indoor sports shoes, a t-shirt and jogging bottoms. Flat, thin soled shoes are best. Avoid jeans and shorts. Note that other than for non-electric foil, fencing should take place wearing protective bottoms such as breeches.

Intermediate training times and prices can be found here.

If you aren’t sure if you should be classified as an intermediate, feel free to ask someone. The general rule of thumb is that if you aren’t a beginner but are borrowing club kit, or if you are turning up to the coached intermediate sessions, then you are an intermediate.


“Advanced” fencer refers to someone who has fenced for more than a year and is capable of going to an Open competition (without too much embarrassment). Membership is £45 per year or £40 per term for students. All Advanced fencers must have their own equipment. Anyone borrowing club equipment regularly will be charged intermediate membership rates.

“Elite” fencer refers to a fencer on the Oxford University Blues Squad or fencers trying out for the team. This title is bestowed on the best of the Advanced fencers and is by invitation only. The costs and equipment rules for Elite fencers is the same as for Advanced.

Advanced fencers train together, with all weapons sharing the facilities. They have two weekly training sessions, one on a Monday from 7:30pm to 10:30pm, and one on a Friday from 6:00pm to 8:00pm. The monday session is espesially good for the Advanced fencers who wish to test themselves since the Elite fencers often train on a monday too and this makes a perfect opportunity for an Advanced fencer to make an impression and potentially gain a position in the Elite squad.

The Elite fencers also train together and, as well as the Monday training session, they train on a Thursday from 8:30pm to 10:30pm and on a Wednesday from 7:30am to 9:00am with Tomek and then continue into cometitive practice from 9:00am to about 10:30am (Lectures/Work permitting).