Tournaments come in a variety of different sizes and levels of competition. Fencing is relatively less popular (for the moment) in the greater Nashville area, so local tournaments in this area are often small, especially as compared to fencing centers on the coasts. Since they are relatively small, local tournaments, including tournaments held at the club, can be great introductions to tournament fencing without a lot of travel or pressure. Local tournaments can be held by clubs exclusively for their own members or be open to others in their area. The slightly larger local tournaments, often hosted by clubs, can be sanctioned by the TN Division of USA Fencing. A tournament must be sanctioned to give out letter classifications. Both sanctioned and unsanctioned tournaments can be a good way to develop skills. Some states also have strong high school fencing programs; although that is not currently the case for TN, Memphis University School in Memphis has a fencing team and will occasionally host tournaments during the school year focused on high school fencers. Local tournaments such as these can generally be found on askfred where registration can also be completed. You may have learned about this for our club tournament a few weeks ago.
Beyond local tournaments, most tournaments are organized by USA Fencing. The typical next level for fencing tournaments are the Regional Youth Circuit (RYC for Y10, Y12, and Y14) and the Regional Junior and Cadet Circuit (RJCC for Junior and Cadet). These tournaments are hosted by USA Fencing and are divided up by region. We are Region 6 (VI), the Southeast portion of the country. By fencing tournaments in Region 6, you can earn regional points and qualify for tournaments like Summer Nationals, July Challenge and Junior Olympics.
USA Fencing also promotes national level tournaments that enable fencers to gain national points. For Youth Fencers, a primary vehicle for national recognition is the Super Youth Circuit (SYC). This is a series of “mini-championship” tournaments within each region. They are open to anyone that wishes to attend including non-US citizens. The top 40% of finishers earn national points and placement on the US National Points list (yes, Canadian, Korean, and other citizens can be on the US national points list, but they cannot compete for US national championships). For Juniors and Cadets, there has previously been an SJCC tournament similar to the SYC, but very few of these have been held.
The most elite level of competition for fencers of all ages domestically is the North American Cup (NAC) series and Summer Nationals. The NAC calendar provides a series of tournaments throughout the year where fencers can test themselves against the best in the country and earn national points.
Typical NAC schedule and eligibility is as follows:
October: Div I, Cadet, Y14
December, Div I, Junior, Cadet
January: Div I, Junior
Junior Olympics (Feb): Junior and Cadet (Junior and Cadet Championships)
March: Y10, Y12, Y14
April: Div I, Junior, Cadet (Div I Championship event)
Summer Nationals: Y10, Y12, Y14, Div IA, Div II, and Div III Championships
July Challenge: Jr and Cadet National Event concurrent with Summer National Championships
Events organized by USA Fencing can be registered for at
For most tournaments, there is a tournament fee and then a separate fee for each event that you enter. Local tournaments are typically cheaper than USA Fencing regional or national tournaments. The championship events generally require meeting a qualification standard; other tournaments are generally open to everyone that meet the age or other requirements.
Regular tournament registration typically closes about 1 month before the tournament. After the close of open registration, there is often a late registration period until up to 1 week before the tournament, but you will incur triple the normal tournament fees for late registration, so definitely try to register early. It also helps with planning flights and hotels.