Tournaments in fencing are divided by age groups and generally also into men’s and women’s events although mixed events are not uncommon. For fencers just beginning, it is usually advisable to stick to the tournament in their age category only. As fencers develop and under Coach’s guidance, many fencers will fence their own age group and one age group ahead. For very advanced fencers, they may fence two age groups up, but this is unusual.
The fencing season begins in August/September of each year and runs through Summer Nationals during the first two weeks of July the following summer. The age cut offs are based on your age as of January 1 of the current fencing season. For this upcoming season, that would mean based on your age as of Jan 1, 2024. The fencing Youth categories are divided into 10 and under (Y10), 12 and under (Y12), and 14 and under (Y14). As an example, if you are 10 in August of 2023 (beginning of the 2022-23 season) but are 11 by January 1, 2024 (middle of season), then you are too old for Y10 and must fence Y12 for this season. After the youth categories, there are Cadet and Junior age groups; Junior Olympics is the official “end of season” championship for Juniors and Cadets. Because of this, Junior and Cadet fencers age out after Junior Olympics so that the oldest fencers in a given season can fence Cadet or Junior in the first part of the fencing year but not in the second part after JO’s in February. Senior fencing (also known as open competition) is open to anyone who meets the age (age 13+) and letter requirements for registration.
For the 2023-2024 season, the following age requirements based on birth year apply:
Y12: 2011-2014 (or on Y10 national points list)
Y14: 2009-2012 (or on Y12 national points list)
Cadet (pre-JO): 2007-2010 (or on Y14 national points list)
Cadet (post-JO): 2008-2011 (or on Y14 national points list)
Junior (pre-JO): 2004-2010 (or on Cadet national points list)
Junior (post-JO): 2005-2011 (or on Cadet national points list)
Div I: Born 2010 or before (Classification rating A, B, C)
Div II: Born 2010 or before (Classification rating C, D, E, U)
Div III: Born 2010 or before (Classification rating D, E. U)
Div IA: Born 2010 or before (A, B, C, D, E, or U—all)