The New Jersey Division, which covers fourteen counties¹ in the State of New Jersey has long been the largest Division of USA Fencing in terms of local and regional fencer activity. In recent years, however, its #1 spot has been being seriously challenged by New England as illustrated in the accompanying graph.
Generating just over 8,800 fencer-events in 2016-2017², the Division’s performance has declined in recent years from a peak of almost 11,000 fencer-events in 2012-2013.
The Division is home to three clubs with the coveted and prestigious designation, “Fencing Club of the Year” for 2016-2017, namely Bergen Fencing Club, located in Ho Ho Kus, Medeo Fencing Club, located in Bridgewater and Infinity Fencing Club, located in Woolwich Township. In addition, it is also home to 13 “Best Fencing Clubs” recipients for 2016-2017.
Two of the Division’s clubs, Medeo Fencing Club and Bergen Fencing Club, made the Top 20 in the National Fencing Club Championships for USA Fencing National Tournaments 2016-2017 and four clubs made the Top 20 in the National Fencing Club Youth Championships – SYC 2016-2017. They included Medeo Fencing Club, Gutkovskiy Academy, V Fencing Club and Top Fencing Club. Get your FREE spreadsheet – A Compendium of New Jersey Club Rankings in 2016-2017 in 15 different categories here. Click here for your FREE Spreadsheet.
The Division is also home to the largest high school fencing competition in the country. The number of high school participants in New Jersey has grown from 864 in 1994-1995 to 2,490 in 2016-2017, a compound annual rate of growth of 4.9%. See our post on the growth of high school fencing in the U.S.
The number of local and regional fencer-events generated by members of the Division has grown at the compound annual rate of 3% per year since 2008-2009 but trails the national average growth rate of 4.4% per year over the same period. Since the peak year in 2012-2013, fencing activity has declined at 5.3% per year.
The growth in fencer-events in the Division has been underwritten by the sustained growth in saber which has grown at the compound annual rate of 4.4% over the period. Foil activity has trailed saber, declining at the annual rate of 1.5%, while epee activity has slumped, declining on average by 3.1% per year. The historical growth in fencer-events is illustrated in the accompanying graph. Due to saber’s robust performance of late, it is now the largest segment and accounted for almost 39% of fencer-events generated in the Division in 2016-2017, followed by foil at 35% and epee 26%.
The number of local and regional fencer-events generated by a club is related to the number and profile of competitive members in the club, the approach of the club’s coaches regarding competitive tournaments and the quality and distance of nearby fencing competitions. Local tournament events include events that are organized by clubs, consortia of clubs and USFA Divisions. They do not include ROCs, RJCCs, SYCs, RYCs and Divisional Qualifiers which are all classified as regional tournaments. National tournaments include NACs, Championships, and the July Challenge.
The composition of fencer-events generated by the largest clubs in 2016-2017 is illustrated in the accompanying graph. The Medeo Fencing Club, Gutkovskiy Fencing Academy, and Advance Fencing and Fitness Academy accounted for about 25% of fencer-events generated in 2016-2017. Fencers from the Medeo Fencing Club generated the largest number of fencer-events in 2016-2017 at 1,106, about 68% from epee, 21% from saber, and 11% from foil. Gutkovskiy Fencing Academy followed with 655, 92% foil and 8% saber.
The growth in foil fencer-events generated by the clubs with large foil programs in the Division is illustrated in the accompanying graph. Located in Fair Lawn, Bergen County, Gutkovskiy Fencing Academy generated the largest number of local and regional foil fencer-events in 2016-2017 at 604, down from 1024 in 2012-2013. The second largest club, V Fencing Club, located in Livingston has recorded 293 fencer-events in its first year of operations. In third place is Manchen Academy of Fencing with 288 fencer-events.
Advance Fencing & Fitness Academy, Bergen Fencing Club, and Escrimeur Fencing Club are the largest generators of saber fencer-events. They accounted for about a 37% of all the local and regional saber fencer-events generated in the Division in 2016-2017.
Medeo Fencing Club was the juggernaut epee club in New Jersey when it came to clubs generating local and regional epee fencer-events in 2016-2017. The club accounted for 32% of the epee fencer-events generated in the Division. Morris Fencing Club followed in second place, Top Fencing Club and Atlantic Fencing Club tied in third place as illustrated in the graph below.
Get your FREE spreadsheet – A Compendium of New Jersey Club Rankings in 2016-2017 in 15 different categories here. Click here for your FREE Spreadsheet.
¹ Essex, Morris, Hudson, Somerset, Hunterdon, Union, Bergen, Passaic, Sussex, Middlesex, Monmouth, Warren, Mercer, and Ocean.
² Source: askFred.net
We recognize that askFRED.net data includes non-sanctioned USFA tournaments such as high school tournaments, private club tournaments, and a few tournaments associated with fencing camps. While the data is not perfect, it nevertheless allows for a comparison of medium to long term growth rates in fencer-activity across States, Divisions, and Clubs. Provided the inconsistencies are consistent over time we are able to get a trend, and therefore an average growth rate. Despite the data limitations, we are able to make valid comparisons on the performance of States, Divisions, and clubs. For strategic decision making, timely, consistent, and directionally correct information is more important than data that is one hundred percent accurate.