Referee Development

Official referee education is done under the auspices of the Fencing Officials Commission (FOC), which is responsible for administering referee ratings. In North Carolina, we are fortunate to have several people who can give exams, seminars, and serve as a resource for developing referees.

Matthew Cox ( – Referee Instructor
Darius Wei ( – Referee Examiner
Alex Beguinet – Referee Examiner

In addition Stephen Kmiec ( is Vice-Chair of the NC Division, in charge of Referee and Coaching Education.

How do I become certified as a referee?
There are three components to becoming certified as a referee:

  • Take the official rules seminar, led by an FOC instructor. There are several seminars held within driving distance during the course of the year,
  • Pass the written exam. The exam costs $25 for a 48 hour window of access, where it can be attempted as many times as necessary. (
  • Pass a practical exam. The practical exam consists of demonstrating proficiency at a tournament under the auspices of a Referee Examiner.

Hiring at the regional/national level prioritizes referees who can work multiple events. As such, we recommend that you attempt to pass your written and practical exam in at least two weapons.

At that point, the referee will be given a rating. An explanation of the ratings system is available at Please note that just because the event is a certain level, there is no guarantee that you will be rated at that level – examiners take into account the strength of the competition, the difficulty level of the calls made, and the referee’s performance. We will provide feedback about how the referee can improve.

How do I schedule a practical exam or request an observation to boost my rating?
Contact the FOC examiners or instructors to express your interest in sitting for observation. The earlier you do this, the more likely it is that both you and the examiner will be able to schedule a time and venue that is mutually convenient.

How do I work at the Regional or National levels?
Contact Matt and/or Darius. If you are qualified, we are happy to put you in touch with hiring officials for regional and national events.

How do I get hired for events?
Contact the event organizer. The NC Division requires dedicated referees, which means that there are often paid opportunities. Most fencing events are organized by the host clubs, so contacting the club will get you in the door.

I would like to host a referee education event. How?
Contact one of the FOC examiner / instructors, or Stephen Kmiec.

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