FORGING CHAMPIONS INSIDE & OUT SINCE 1986
Join the thousands of Bay Area residents from recreational students to World Class athletes who learned to fence at the California Fencing Academy
for Intro-beg classes & camps
Special Awards & Achievements
- Genevieve: Earns her spot on the Irish Cadet National Team and attends the 2017 Cadet World Championships in Bulgaria
- Julia: Earns her spot on the Japanese Cadet National Team
- Ishani Sood: Wins the 2017 Pan American Championship in Youth-10 Girls Foil
Testimonials & Reviews
By the age of 10 my daughter Ruchika had tried many sports - soccer, softball, swimming, tennis, running, horse riding - but she could not stay engaged for long even though she was good at a few of them. A few months before turning 11 she tried fencing at CFA. She was hooked!
With guidance and great coaching from the CFA coaches Ania Tibbetts and Daniel Tibbetts, my daughter started going for local and regional competitions and even got medals every now and then. She graduated to competing in National competitions and continued to improve her National standing. Fencing played an important role in making my daughter into a confident, self-assured child with high self-esteem. Having a sport to seriously pursue also kept her grounded and secure during her teenage and high school years. I can say without a doubt that her fencing track record helped her get into an Ivy League college, because although she took high level courses and maintained very high grades in her High School years, that is simply not enough these days to get admission into the most sought after schools! She made strong friendships and connections from fencing at CFA, including with her coaches. Ania and Dan care about their students and put in a lot of effort into each and every fencer. CFA has been fantastic for my daughter in many ways CFA and her coaches Dan and Ania will always hold a special place for our family’s life.
Joined after an INTRO Class at their original Saratoga locaion. My son loved the fencing class and after a couple of FREE classes he joined.
They let him borrow equipment till he knew if he wanted to train in FOIL, SABER or EPEE. He choose epee and only bought his equipment after a year of lessons.
We moved to the new BASCOM location and it is super convient to our SJ home.
The best means for communication is just walking into their location and having a chat with anyone at their front desk. They'll direct you to lessons, help with questions about the sport and then if you want to compete they'll help you with that too.
My son has now been fencing for 4yrs. He started w/ just Saturday lessons, and then took group lessons a couple nights a week, and now takes private lessons 1/wk along with the group lessons.
Finally my son participated in the JUNIOR OLYMPICS at UTAH in Feb 2012 for EPEE fencing. How many kids get that opprotunity?!
He has this opprotunity due to CFA.
My son has been going here for about 3 months now. He loves it! He lights up after every class and just loves fencing.
He did the 6-week intro class here in the January/February time frame. Although we were thinking of signing up at the time, but it didn't happen do to some other sports commitments at the time. (baseball)
So in the Fall, my son decided he wanted to go back to fencing. We weren't sure if he should do the intro class or the regular recreational class. They had us come in and evaluated him during the into class. They didn't make us pay until they had figured out the right class for him, which ended up being the recreational class.
I decided to write a review because I feel that the other low ratings are unwarranted and somewhat inaccuarate. so to their points:
The club has you sign a month to month contract and do an automatic debit (or charge to a credit card) for the monthly dues based on the number of times you go a week. It is administered by a 3rd party and they provide you with a letter stating the monthly amount, draft date, and provide you with a phone number to call if there are questions. The contract that you sign has a 30 day cancellation policy which seems reasonable to me. (and is better than most gyms in this area)
We are now moving up to more classes per week and the next level of fencing. Did I mention that my son really, really loves fencing because of this place?
We've worked with Ania to order a bunch of fencing gear for my son (electric fencing set) - and she and John we both super helpful in letting us know what we would need and how much it would cost in advance. Since we already had a mask, instead of selling us a new one, they recommended a piece that could just be sewn onto the existing mask to make it compatible for electric fencing. Plus, we're going out of town for the holidays and it is our son's Christmas present and she is making sure that we have it prior to leaving and has set up time on two occasions to come in and meet with us (1 for sizing and 1 for picking up the items).
The only con (if you can call it that), is that they don't have someone at the reception desk all the time. They are focused on fencing rather than administration. So if you are trying to get in touch with them, you can email or call, but the best option is probably just to pop into the location around when a class is ending (the schedule is on their website), and there is pretty much always someone at the desk at that time.
My daughter has been fencing foil at CFA for the past 3 years. She started in the beginner's class and now is on the national team. She loves it! What I love about CFA is that they made it fun for beginners (while teaching clever listening skills), developed focus/technique for intermediates, and shaped champions at the national level. The women's youth 12 foil national champion in 2013 was from CFA.
What I particularly like about CFA has been their approach to teaching respect and control. Everything from when you get onto the strip, to the salute, to recovering from a missed point, to the handshake at the end is about respecting your opponent, the director, the sport, and the coach. There are tremendous life lessons here.
Both Ania and Dan are great coaches. They have very different styles. Ania tends to teach more of the advanced girls and focus on technique. Dan teaches more the advanced boys and focuses on tactics. The combination is good as they build on one another's lessons.
While not everyone will want to progress to national level, if you do, be prepared for a time commitment. In my daughter's case, she started at 2 hrs/week in beginners, then 4 hrs/wk at intermediate and now is at ~10 hr/week. She loved it at all stages.
My son has been fencing at CFA for... gosh, I forget how many years it's been. He became interested in fencing when the US did well at the Olympics, and at the time, CFA ran a promotion on Groupon for free trial lessons. My son went, and he was hooked.
I've interacted with Dan, the head coach on several occasions, and even had the pleasure of working with him when the club was moving locations.
Dan is very passionate about his craft and the art of fencing, and he gets downright serious sometimes. I feel that a lot of reviews are coming from people who are used to being pampered by fake smiles and sycophantic caterings. Nothing wrong with being overly nice and accommodating - if you're a waiter at a restaurant. But this fencing business is serious business - you want a coach who knows how to fight, who knows how to build strong character in his students. You need someone tough. If you want nice and flowery, send your kids to Gymboree.
Dan (and all the other coaches) have done a fantastic job not only in teaching my son how to fence, but also teaching him good sportsmanship and great work ethics. Keep up the good work, CFA!
My son has been going to CFA for over a year. It is the only sport that he decided to do and he was happy with the club, even though he stayed at recreational level. We never had problems with getting a response; email works just fine. All in all, I'm happy if my son is satisfied.
I signed my daughter up for archery lessons- a beginner. The price was right, class size small. The instructors were very professional and kind. Unfortunately, our schedule was so full, we decided to pull out of the class. I wasn't sure I'd be refunded, at least I figured I'd have to pay for the class we attended, but Dan offered a full refund. Great customer service. Hopefully we will have time for class next session!
My daughter went to a summer camp for fencing and archery, and loved it so much that she is now taking lessons there. She really likes the teachers. And we like the confidence it is giving her. I have found is that Dan is really is trying to do the right thing for the customers. Example: my daughter was sick most of summer camp, and so he refunded us without it being requested. His intention and desire to have a great experience for the customers is there. I would definitely recommend this place to others.
For a complete review visit yelp.
My daughters took beginning archery and liked it a lot. Nick is a great instructor. He gives clear, consistent instruction. He provides helpful feedback and a positive learning environment.
The facilities are great and conveniently located. My 11 year old daughter loves to come here and is developing a love for the sport. As for coach Dan and some apparent negative feedback from other posts, I haven't seen anything negative. He is a true expert, and he expects the respect that he is due from his students, nothing more.
I never buy into the "stern taskmaster" attitude, (that's usually just a polite way to say "jerk") Dan is a no-nonsense teacher who has a great way with kids.
I haven't been at this club for a number of years, but I have frequently interacted with the students. The general level of the competitive students is consistently high. Not just recently... but for many many years in a row. But what impresses me most is the character of the students. The Bay area has tons of fencing clubs... with so may rude prima donna students. Dan somehow is able to teach competitive technique without tolerating competitive whining. Don't you want your child to become a decent human as well as a good fencer? This might be the best option.
This is a good place to start learning fencing. The coaches are good and the people who run it are committed to doing a good job. It is an encouraging atmosphere. I think your child is just starting out or at a high level this is a good place to be.
I have seen evidence that they are completely committed to good coaching and will not tolerate unreliable or poor behavior on the part of the coaches. They have a high standard and they hold their staff to that standard. I have only good things to say about the coaching
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