Academy of Fencing Masters Blog

Art of Fencing, Art of Life

Month: March 2015 (Page 1 of 2)

Fencing Penalties 101 for Parents

US Fencing Penalty Cards - Yellow Card (for first warning type of fencing penalties) , Red Card (for second warning or more serious offence - result in touch awarded to opponent) and Black Card (for very serious offence - results in exclusion from the competition)When your child starts fencing, it can be overwhelming to learn the rules of a sport you may never have watched or learned about growing up. One important part of the competition is penalties. As parents, we want to understand why our child is being penalized if it happens, and we also want to be able to talk them through it if it upsets them. This post will explain the basics of the different types of fencing penalties, why they are given, and what happens if your child gets a penalty card.

It’s typical for new fencers to not understand all of the rules when they start out, even at their first competition. The current US Fencing rulebook is 200 pages long, and who can be expected to learn all of that material right off the bat? Some things just have to be learned as you go. It’s not uncommon for a younger fencer to receive a penalty and not understand why or to not know how to avoid getting one. In the event of a penalty, remind your child that it happens to many fencers and it’s not a big deal—just a learning opportunity.

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Fencing Referees and Bad Calls: What to do when you know the call is wrong

Fencing Referee Makes a Call at CIP 2014 (Challenge Internationale de Paris)Parents, what would you say is your #1 job at a fencing competition? To make sure your children have everything they need? That they have nutritious food and plenty of water? I would argue that your most important job is to make sure they know that you enjoy watching them fence and that you are their biggest fan.

I want to address one specific thing that is not your job, and that is judging the referees. As a parent, I understand how it can be tempting to stick up for your child. If you feel strongly that a call was wrong to the disadvantage of your child, it can be hard to watch without saying anything—but that’s exactly what you need to do.

Why? For a few clear reasons …

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6 Tips for Fencing your Teammates at Competitions

Fencing TeammatesPart of what makes fencing special is its uniqueness and, from our experience, the supportive community. At the same time, a niche sport with tight-knit clubs means that you will inevitably faceoff against your teammates. These aren’t ideal circumstances, but with a little forethought and sensitivity, you can avoid any drama, hurt feelings, or negative impacts to your bouting. Use these six tips to point you in the right direction.

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Injury Timeouts in Fencing: Know when to take a medical break

Fencer helps another fencer that is injuired during the fencing bout (LEGO fencers figurines)We’ve discussed in previous posts that fencing is not nearly as dangerous as some might believe. In fact, if you follow that link you will see a great chart that shows how fencing was in the bottom six sports for number of injuries in the 2008 Summer Olympics.

Nonetheless, fencers can be injured during a bout, even if most injuries are not serious or long-lasting. What may turn out to be a mild sprain or nothing more than an irritating bruise can still be distracting in the middle of a bout, and can negatively affect your performance if you ignore it.

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How to Straighten Your Fencing Weapon During a Competition

Sabre fencer straightens his weapon during a fencing bout at Pan-American Championship 2015What can be more straightforward than straightening your weapon? (Pun intended.) The basic idea is simple: Weapons should be straight and they often get bent during a bout … so you need to straighten them. The problem is that beginner fencers, especially children, often either don’t realize their weapon is bent or they do realize it, but don’t know to stop the bout for straightening. Even when they do know to straighten it, what’s the best way?

In competition, a bent weapon can cost you several important touches. In some cases the referee or coach will point to the fencer to indicate that the weapon is bent, but it’s ultimately the fencers responsibility to be aware of their weapon and fix it if needed. Not to mention, the fencer needs to assess for themselves how straight is straight enough, as some downward bend is desired.

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