Tournaments and Events

A “tournament” consists of one or more contested “events.” An individual tournament may span one or more days; it is very rare at the domestic level for a single event to span more than one day. It is unusual for a fencer to compete in more than one event in a day (some tournament organizers explicitly prohibit this), though sometimes a single fencer will compete in multiple events in the tournament.

Tournaments are generally "scoped" by geography: "national," "regional," "divisional," and "local." The designations depend on who is sanctioning the event. "National" and "Regional" events are sanctioned by the USA Fencing national office. USA Fencing is divided into several smaller geographic "divisions," which are responsible for sanctioning "divisional" events in their borders. "Local" events are often not sanctioned, and are run by individual clubs. 

When sanctioning events, USA Fencing and its member divisions consider schedule conflicts (so that tournaments generally do not compete with each other for the same fencers), and they assure that the tournament adheres to a set of standards for tournament organization and structure.

A tournament may include events that are scoped differently. For example, a tournament may include both "regional" and "divisional" events.

Learn more about event descriptions here.

Some events require prior qualification in order to compete. There may be more than one qualifying path for events that require qualification. 

Some events may be "points events," meaning that they award ranking points for various points lists (see right). 

An event may use ranking on a points list as one of the qualifying paths. See here for more information about qualifying events.

Competition Results

In addition to any tokens, such as medals, that are given out, competitions may bestow fencers with other markers of achievement. These usually consist of fencer classifications or points toward some points list.

It is rare for US tournaments to offer monetary prizes. Ultimately, fencing is an amateur sport in the USA. While there have been attempts to make professional fencing leagues, they have yet to succeed.

Fencer classifications

These can be awarded at any USA Fencing sanctioned event. The classifications that may be earned are dependent upon the number of total entries in the event, the classifications held by those who entered the event, and where the fencers finished in the final results of the competition.

Generally speaking, the larger and stronger the field, the more classifications are available and the stronger those classifications are. Here is the defining document for figuring out what classifications are awarded in a tournament.

Fencer classifications are used to describe the fencers, and can be used to determine if an event is appropriate for them.

Points Lists

While divisions and local clubs may keep track of their own lists, we will limit discussion to the types of lists maintained by USA Fencing: the national points lists and the regional points lists.

National points lists are used to determine national ranking. Generally, the national points lists are used to select national team members (Olympics, World Championships, etc.).

Regional points lists are used as a qualifying path to national events. One way to qualify for some national events is to be ranked high enough on select regional points lists.

Click here for more about events with qualifying paths.