Friday, October 21, 2005

Fencing Classes vs. Individual Lessons

Many of my inquiries are from people who want to know about classes and lessons. I usually advise people who have never fenced before to sign up for a class, and if they want to refine their technique, to take one-on-one lessons. Often, though, I have to answer questions that are phrased as variants of how much do you charge for parries and ripostes to groups and to individuals. While I could simply rattle off a dollar amount, I try to dig deeper and ask about goals and commitment levels. At a certain point, the check one hands over to the club or coach is often negligible compared to the time spent fencing. I hope I got this reply right:


Individual lessons vary in price and structure by individual coach. One example is $20 for 15 minutes...

Although classes cost less and include use of club facility and equipment, our classes are survey courses meant only to introduce fencing to students who have been fencing less than two or three months. While classes are an excellent and low cost way to learn and practice footwork and timing, the refinement of skills and the use of tactics and strategy in competition generally fall in the domain of individual lessons. A fencer who wishes to excel in competition quickly becomes frustrated by the lack of results from a fencing class; however, a fencer who wishes to internalize and make footwork and timing second nature usually benefits from persistent practice in class drills and supervised sparring.

Naturally, there are exceptions to this rule, but the time of the coach and student is far more valuable than the lesson fee, and a fencing student who is prepared and is willing to practice with defined goals always benefits from the lesson or class more than the unprepared student without a personal plan.

Hope this helps!

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