The United States Fencing Association (USFA) is the national governing body for the sport of fencing in the U.S. This nonprofit organization was founded in 1891 as the Amateur Fencers League of America (AFLA) by a group of New York fencers seeking independence from the Amateur Athletic Union. The AFLA changed its name to the United States Fencing Association in 1981. The USFA provides ratings for its members. Ratings are a system of classification for USFA fencers. A beginner is rated U, or Unrated. Fencers may increase their classification from U to E, and then up to A, by placing in USFA-sanctioned tournaments.