You have to choose a venue that is an appropriate size for the event you want to run. If you have decided to set the tone for your event by pitching it as just a local, low-intensity competition, then a small venue might well be sufficient; if you pitch your event as a high-intensity, national or international tournament with many guests coming from far and wide, then you will need a bigger venue.
There must be sufficient space for the competitors not only to fight, but to move around, to warm up, to leave their gear, and to be safely out of the way while not fighting. If there will be spectators (including competitors who are not currently fighting), then there needs to be sufficient space for the audience, at a safe enough distance from the action. Judges and other event staff will also need space to move around, to sit and take not of scores, to operate cameras, and suchlike.
Ceilings should be high enough that competitors will not threaten the building or anything hanging from the ceiling. Similarly, walls (and especially windows) should be sufficiently far from the fighting activities that the building cannot be damaged easily. The venue managers may stipulate that the floor needs to be looked after as well, so a venue with an expensive wooden floor might not be the best place to hold a competition.
Some basic (and minimum) recommendations, to give you an idea of what to look for, could be as follows:
- ceilings at least 12 feet (3.5 metres) high
- an area of 15 x 15 feet (4.5 x 4.5 metres) for the competitors
- an area of 15 x 15 feet (4.5 x 4.5 metres) for gear storage
- an area of 15 x 15 feet (4.5 x 4.5 metres) for spectators
- an area of 15 x 15 feet (4.5 x 4.5 metres) for random usage and wandering
- at least 3 feet (1 metre) between any activity and the wall
- therefore, a TOTAL AREA of 66 x 21 feet (20 x 6.5 metres) = 1386 square feet (130 square metres)
Although it may be tempting to hold a tournament in a venue that is a bit too small, because it is otherwise convenient and cheap, you MUST choose a venue that is sufficiently spacious and that is safe for the competitors, the staff, the audience, and for anyone else who may be passing. Failure to do so is negligence on the part of the organiser and may lead to legal repercussions if something goes wrong on the day. Furthermore, it may be a condition of your event insurance that the venue be of a minimum size.
Book a judge training workshop
We offer judge training workshops to help your staff and/or club members improve their judging skills. Becoming a better judge usually leads to developing skills that are useful for fencing, such as perceiving openings and predicting an opponent’s behaviour, so judge training has a wide range of benefits.
If you would like to book a judge training workshop, then please send us an email to discuss your requirements, and we would be delighted to help.