The aim of these pages is to describe the basics of how tournaments are organized in the USA.

Tournaments are described often described in terms of who can compete in them. As such, it is critical to understand how fencers are described, also.


Fencers are described by gender, age, weapon(s) fenced, and skill ability level attained.

Some examples:
  • John is a C-rated junior men's epee fencer
  • Sally is an A-rated senior women's foil fencer
  • Pat fences both epee and sabre in the Vet50 age category. She is unclassified in sabre, but holds a B2019 rating in epee.
  • Chris is a foil fencer who fences in Y14, Cadet, Junior, and Senior events. He has an E2019 classification in foil, a D2019 classification in sabre, and a C2017 classification in epee.


Tournaments are collections of competitive "events" that are restricted to fencers of specific gender, age, weapon, fencer classification, etc. 

Examples of tournaments and the events in them:
  • "6-weapon Veteran tournament" (one tournament, six events)
    • VET Women's and Men's Foil (these are two separate events)
    • VET Women's and Men's Epee
    • VET Women's and Men's Sabre
  • "Riverside In-House Tournament"
    • Senior Mixed Open Epee (one event only)
  • "Darth Vader Memorial Classic"
    • Y10 mixed sabre
    • Y12 mixed sabre
    • Y14 Women's & Men's Foil (two events: one men's one women's)

Some events, notably national championships events, require some prior qualification to compete. For these events, there may be several qualifying paths. Click here to learn more about qualifying paths.