Fencing classifications, also called ratings (not to be confused with rankings), can be earned based on your placement in tournaments and the tournament’s overall difficulty. All fencers begin as “unrated” or “U” and can earn progressively higher ratings of E, D, C, B, all the way up to A. The letter classification is followed by a number indicating the year in which it was awarded. Ratings will decay after 5 years such that if you earned your A in 2017 (A17) and do not renew it in 2022, you will become a B23 in 2023.
The following chart describes how fencing tournaments are classified and what types of classifications can be earned based on how you (and the other fencers) place.
For youth (Y10, Y12, Y14) and cadet tournaments, the tournament must be at least a C1 in order to award any classifications to the competitors. Therefore, most youth tournaments do not give letter ratings. This begins to change in Y14 once some of the fencers are old enough to compete in Junior and Open tournaments and begin to earn the letters that make the tournaments qualify for the higher C1 standard, which becomes common by the regional Cadet level. This approach overall prevents an accumulation of inflated ratings amongst Y10 and Y12 fencers prior to their physical and mental development.