skip navigation

USA Fencing Announces Groundbreaking Partnership with 2-4-1

05/15/2024, 7:45am CDT
By Bryan Wendell

The agreement aims to make the sport more accessible and affordable for children across the nation by removing the equipment barriers to trying fencing. Activations, including “train the trainer” sessions, are being planned for USA Fencing national tournaments.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — It doesn’t cost hundreds of dollars to get a young person interested in fencing. All you need is an empty space, a bag of modified pool noodles, and a group of kids who want to have fun and try something new.

The effort to lower fencing’s “try it” barrier forms the genesis of a new partnership between USA Fencing and 2-4-1 Fencing, a signature program of sport-sampling, nonprofit 2-4-1 CARE. The initiative, officially launched this week at the Project Play Summit 2024 in Baltimore, aims to transform the landscape of youth sports by introducing fencing to a wider and more diverse audience at roughly 2% of the traditional cost.

Phil Andrews, CEO of USA Fencing, shares his enthusiasm for this innovative approach. 

“We’re thrilled to introduce this partnership at the Project Play Summit, a fitting venue for such a transformative initiative,” he says. “This collaboration will significantly enhance our efforts to make fencing a part of every child's life.”

The program uses modified pool noodles with a removable plastic handle, optional safety goggles, and simplified rules in games and activities that are tons of fun. But these activities deliver fun while also teaching skills in ways that will directly translate to Olympic-style fencing once the young person is ready to level up.

Through a series of fencing games like Bodyguard, Swords vs. Spears and Time Tag, students have a blast while developing a lifelong love of fencing. Once they’re ready, students use the noodles like a foil, where the end of the noodle is used to score, and only touches on the torso count. 

“Our team is beyond excited to be partnering with USA Fencing. We wake up every day driven by the mission to expose kids from all backgrounds to sports they might never have had the chance to try, fostering connectedness and enhancing well-being,” says 2-4-1’s Executive Director Steve Boyle. “ This partnership accelerates that mission, as fencing has a unique universality that is truly special. Helping the United States grow this wonderful sport fills us with tremendous pride and enthusiasm!”

This partnership promises substantial benefits for USA Fencing members — primarily in membership growth as clubs expand their footprint by opening new doors. The program aligns with USA Fencing's commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging by making the sport more accessible to communities previously underserved by traditional fencing programs.

“This program is a powerful tool in our mission to foster inclusion within the fencing community,” says Dr. Shannon Jolly, Senior Manager of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging at USA Fencing. “We're excited to see how 2-4-1 Fencing will create a more inclusive and welcoming environment for all.”

2-4-1 Fencing has already attracted an impressive roster of talent, starting with its fencing coordinator, Eric Momberg, who also serves as head fencing coach at Lawrence University.

“Fencing has had a profound impact on my life as both an athlete and a person,” Momberg says. “I am excited for this partnership as an opportunity to remove barriers to the sport and connect more young athletes to an unparalleled growth opportunity.”

Coaches and trainers interested in participating in this initiative can learn more and access resources created by 2-4-1 and Momberg by contacting 2-4-1 Fencing

But today’s news is only the beginning, says Brad Suchorski, Director of Membership, Service & Growth at USA Fencing.

“This will begin a new chapter in our sport,” he says. “We’re delighted to see where this program goes next — beginning with a special activation at Summer Nationals in Columbus.”

This year’s Summer Nationals will include a “train the trainer” panel where coaches and other club officials can learn more about 2-4-1 Fencing and see how the program will help grow fencing in their area.

“Coaches interested in this game-changing effort can access training and resources to integrate 2-4-1 Fencing into their programs,” Suchorski says. “By doing so, they’ll be well-equipped to inspire the next generation.”

Support the Future of Fencing and 2-4-1

If you are interested in sponsoring or supporting this initiative, please contact Stephen Boyle at 2-4-1 or Shannon Jolly at USA Fencing.

Tag(s): Updates