Q: I have been fencing and coaching for a a long time. Why should I be interested in the USFCA and certification as a fencing coach?
A: Educational institutions in many states now require certification. The USFCA offers the only path in the USA towards obtaining a Fencing Master certificate endorsed by the President of the Academie d'Armes Internationale (AAI).
Q: I have heard the term “Maestro” or “Fencing Master” used in fencing circles. What is a Fencing Master?
A: It takes a board of three Fencing Masters to certify a “Fencing Master” or Maitre d'Armes. USFCA Fencing Masters have two documents to verify the results of such a peer review. One is signed by the President of the USFCA. The other is from the President of the AAI (International Academy of Arms).
Traditionally, a Fencing Master was certified in all three weapons (Foil, Sabre & Epee). A recent change by the AAI and the USFCA allows a Fencing Master to be certified as a Master instructor in only one weapon. These certifications are designated as “Maitre d'Arme Fleuret,” “Maitre d'Arme Sabre,” and “Maitre d'Arme Epee.” A Fencing Master who is certified in all three weapons will be designated as a “Maitre d'Escrime.”
Q: My coach has produced many champions. Doesn't that make her/him a Fencing Master?
A: Your coach may indeed be a very fine coach. The international standard for Fencing Master has not changed in many years. Competitive results may be a good indicator of a coach's ability but it is no substitute for certification.