How Are Fencers Ranked? – Ranking System in Fencing

Sports vary from one another in many things but most importantly, ranking comes to mind. Everybody wants to be at the top of the ladder. For some sports, it is simple, the teams or athletes with the most points are at the top of the ladder. Actually, most sports operate by this principle, except that some of them have variations and details to the rules as to how one retains points. 

Fencing is a strange sport that not many people but fencers are familiar with. Here is an overview of how ranking in fencing works and what you should know about it.

The System is Huge – Age Classes

Fencing has a complicated system that combines age and ranking. Let us look at age classes first. In the US, there are several age categories, ranking from three Youth groups, 10, 12 and 14. There is a Cadet or under 16 and Junior or under 19 group. Every group between that and 40 years of age is considered Senior. Groups above forty are considered veterans and they further classify as Veteran 40, 50, 60 and 70, depending on their age.

This is the first part of the ranking system, the second has to do with the points and skill.

Skill Also Matters – Skill Ranks

The ranking system in the US ranks people from Unranked to class E to A. E is the lowest rank, while A would be the highest. But, there aren’t only the letters to make the ranking, but also the sub-ranks. E and D are only ranked as E1 and D1. C, B, and A ranks have further sub-classes, with C and B being up to 3. A is the only rank that has four ranks, from A1 up until A4. The points are won by winning class based tournaments. 

If you win a tournament which is higher-ranked, then you would also advance in the standings. National Championships in the US are always ranked as A4, particularly if they are Division I, which is the highest tier of tournaments in the US.

How Do You Rank Up?

Fencing is a difficult beast to master, not only in terms of sword mastery, but also in regards to the ranking system which is apparently very complicated. One ranks up in fencing by attending tournaments and either winning or being at the very top of the ladder at the said tournament.

The tournament has to have a certain class for you to rank up. If the tournament is ranked above your current level, then you get more points. Ratings last up to four years, but you can re-earn them every year. Seeding is based on rank, of course. A rank A2022 will be a higher seed than a rank A2019. A will obviously be higher seeded than B.

Fencing rankings are hard to master but get easier once you follow a couple of matches and listen to the commentators, who frequently break down what is going on. Talking to experts also helps, as well as entering a tournament yourself. Regardless, fencing ranking should now be easier to understand.