Becoming a U.S.Fencing Association (USFA) Referee provides opportunities for travel and to earn a little extra cash. Even if you don’t plan on being a USFA referee, understanding the theory of refereeing and “why fencers do what they do” can benefit your coaching and fencing. Becoming an USFA referee is a three-step process with annual refreshers, as described below. Additional information is available at the Fencing Officials Commission (FOC) website (http://fencingofficials.org).
Written Test. The written test is based on the official USFA Rules, and must be given by an FOC Examiner or FOC Instructor. A passing score of 90% is required for the general section, as well as the individual weapons being tested (foil, epee, and sabre). Note: You must take and pass the written test within one year (before or after) of taking the Referee Seminar, or you will be dropped from the FOC database, and need to retake either the test or seminar (or both).
Referee Seminar. The Referee Seminar is given by an FOC Instructor. The seminar teaches the theory of refereeing, and how to be a better referee. Seminars are held during the Summer Nationals, and are periodically organized by the Oregon Division. The referee seminar is designed to teach you the theory and practice of being a referee, rather than rules of fencing. Attendees will be expected to already know the rules. It is strongly recommended that participants study the USFA Rules and Referee Study Guide, and take the written exam before the seminar.
Practical Exam. The Practical Exam is given by a FOC Examiner or FOC Instructor during a tournament. Ratings are given at a tournament based on the demonstrated proficiency by the referee and the level of fencing at the time of examination. Higher ratings can be earned at larger competitions (i.e., up to a rating of “5”). The highest ratings (1-4) require examination by an FOC Member, or a vote of the FOC.
Rules Interpretation Seminar: All USFA Referees will be required to attend a Rules Interpretation Seminar once a year. The Interpretation Seminar will be held at each NAC, the JO's, the Summer Nationals, and at other selected locations.
Testing: The Oregon Division has two FOC Examiners that are available to provide the written test and practical exam to prospective referees. Fencers may contact these individuals directly to arrange for written or practical testing (a fee may apply). In addition, the Oregon Division will periodically arrange for one of the FOC Examiners to provide both the written test and practical test (free of charge) at Regional Youth Circuit Events or Division Qualifying Events.
Practical Advice: If you haven't thoroughly studied the test materials for the written test, please do not attempt to take the written test. Proctoring and grading the test takes significant effort on the part of the FOC examiner. Please be prepared !