Sport fencing really has three main expenses if you want to participate in it. These are membership costs, equipment costs, and competition travel costs.
For beginners, equipment costs are not really a factor, as in almost every case the club you train with will have their own equipment for novice fencers to use.
This cost only comes up later on, and this can also be the case for competition costs.
Many people wait a year or longer before developing the confidence to try out their fencing skills in a tournament outside their club.
If you’re a current university student, the costs for participating in fencing will be the lowest out of all demographics (if your university has a fencing club).
University clubs will not only definitely have equipment for you to use, they will also have much cheaper membership fees than a private fencing club.
This is due to them having grants, and/or free training space and so on from the university.
The estimated cost for university students would be around $50 per year.
For private fencing clubs, the cost is much more variable.
The level of the club (has it produced Olympians or national champions recently?), the size of the club’s membership, and the level of facilities will affect the membership cost.
Private clubs will also have different levels that they offer.
For beginners this will be on the cheaper end, moving up as you pick an option with training more often/more intensely.
For entry level fencers, a price for private clubs would be around $400 per year at the low end up to around $1500.
More than that will generally only be for quite experienced fencers or very high level coaches, such as those coaching national team members and so on.
Geography will also play a role in the cost of clubs. For example in Germany or France, sport clubs are supported by the government.
If you go to one of these public clubs the cost could be lower. The Olympic Fencing Club in Bonn for example has prices around 200 euro per year.
In the United States the cost will be on the higher end, as clubs will be self-sufficient.
Depending on the locale (clubs in New York have higher rent costs for example) the price will vary but in general will be at least $600 per year.
Clubs always offer a beginner course so you don’t have to commit to the full membership.
If you just want to try it out, you can do a course, usually 4 to 6 weeks, that would cost in the $150 to $250 range.
Equipment costs come into play later on for a fencer, as clubs provide their beginners with club equipment. This usually lasts for quite some time.
As you purchase your own gear, there are two different levels that you can buy.
“Level 1” gear is non-FIE gear, meaning that you can’t use it for international competitions.
“Level 2” you can use at these competitions, or at national events that require international standard gear.
The level 2 gear is more expensive, so for most people it’s better to get some level 1 equipment.
If you end up representing your country internationally in fencing, then you can always buy or borrow level 2 equipment later on!
Level 1 Set Example
A full set of level 1 gear bought as a package would cost around $500. You can see for example the offers by Absolute Fencing.
They’re all around $500, with Epee being a bit cheaper as they’re simply less equipment required (~$350).
Wear And Tear
Once you have your own set, then there are occasional expenses to do with replacing broken equipment.
The fencing clothes and mask usually last forever, you can keep them for a decade easily.
Blades and bodywires break more often.As a blade costs around $100, and bodywires cost around $30, so you can expect to have to get a new one of each per year at least.
If you train more regularly, the cost of broken equipment will increase.
More regular training in general leads to higher expenses of membership and gear replacement.
It means you need to book more time and there is more wear and tear on your stuff.
If you want to do fencing competitions, you have to travel to the place where the fencing competition is held.
There will almost always be competitions close to where you live or where your club trains. The cost for these wouldn’t be very high.
Some travel costs, whether it’s on public transport or with a car, and then an entry fee for the competition organizers, $20 to $40 generally.
Once you’re more involved in fencing, you might want to go to larger or more challenging tournaments.
For example, your country’s national championships or regional championships.
These would be further away, which can lead to accommodation costs and larger travel costs, for example with longer drives, train journeys or even flights.
This point is generally only reached after people have been fencing for many years.
For beginner competitions there will be events and tournaments locally.
The higher level competitions are larger, so they need specific venues, and have to be sanctioned by the national fencing authority of the country.
Costs for this kind of competition would be $200 to $300 for a regional event.
For international events such as a junior world cup for example, flights would be the main contributor, with travel costing as much as $1000 or more depending on distance.
Overall, costs for fencing can range considerably.
Factors such as whether you are a student or not, what country you’re in, and if you’re in a major city can all affect it.
Costs for beginners are low, as beginners would not have to worry about travel costs or equipment costs.
For an accurate picture of fencing membership costs in your area, the best course of action is to check local clubs.
Google search “fencing club paris” “fencing club new york” or so on, with your own town or city name. Alternatively try “fencing clubs near me”.
Then you can compare the clubs around you to see what’s the best for you personally in terms of commuting, and who offers the best deal.