Looking for some great advice about navigating fencing competitions? There is so much to the process of competing as a fencer – from regulations and preparation to how to deal with unexpected challenges that happen during a fencing bout. Here are seventeen of AFM’s best blogs (and an ebook!) about how to navigate fencing competitions. You’ll find tips in these pages on everything from weapons to rules to history – and you’ll want to read them all!
Month: November 2015 (Page 1 of 2)
This was the question of another child to mine, overheard at the club recently. My son didn’t think twice about loaning his extra glove to his classmate. As a fencing mom, I know that the stickiest item of fencing gear is the fencing glove (well, except perhaps for the easily washable socks!)
Well, we all know that fencing gloves do not smell roses. The thing is that sweaty gloves always have lots of naughty bacteria happily living in them. Bacteria like these little perfect “homes” – dark, warm, wet and closed off to outside intrusion. That’s why fencing gloves often have that terribly strong odor if you put them into your training bag after fencing.
Now that we agree that fencing gloves have the potential to be pretty gross, how can we go about taking care of them, and most importantly cleaning them? Here I’ve put together my best suggestions for you when it comes to cleaning fencing gloves.
Understanding fencing scoring is so essential to becoming successful as a competitor. Fencers are required to sign their scoresheets as soon as they have completed their bouts, but most often novice fencers just sign without thinking, assuming that the judges and competition runners are the experts and that they must be right.
Unfortunately this truly is not always the case. It is not uncommon for scoresheets to have serious mistakes. This isn’t necessarily because there’s something nefarious going on, these errors are most often simple oversights. Fencing competitions are large and complex, and getting it all perfect is a lot to expect from organizers who are usually stretched thin. In particular, the final responsibility for getting those scoresheets correct ultimately falls onto the individual fencer. It’s actually a great lesson in personal responsibility for young fencers!
Today I’ll start with the tale of my son. For more than two years he’s been asking for a Leon Paul mask; this shiny-all-american-flag-champion-like mask. He started asking me about it when he was just seven and a half. Yes, a first grader dreamed about a mask that costs almost three hundred bucks! Does he want it because it’s the finest in fencing gear? No. Does he want it because it will help him to be a better fencer? Nope. Comfort? Uh uh. He wants it because it looks cool, because the champion fencers wear them, and because it’s different than the other fencing masks he’s seen. The biggest reason is this last one – because it’s different. (A note that in this particular case it had nothing to do with peer pressure as none of his friends have these masks).
My first tactic was to try to show him that champion fencers don’t need fancy equipment. I told him that Michael Johnson won four Olympic games medals and eight world championships not because of his famous golden shoes, but the opposite – he got them after he mastered his running style and became a well known runner. My son was silent.
My second tactic was to talk sense to him. I tried to explain him that because we can afford this “golden mask” does not mean we should buy it. He did not say a word.
The third tactic was trying to talk about him in terms of his age. I tried to hint that this kind of fancy mask would probably look odd and unflattering on 7 years old beginner fencer. He frowned quietly.
Ok, time to bring in the big guns. My fourth and final tactic was to show him the absurdity of the amount of money. I invited him to save his own money and get this golden mask. That was the ticket – he smiled.
Sometimes it’s hard to know what kids are really getting out of the activities that they participate in. Though we as parents and coaches may know all of the benefits of fencing, the real question doesn’t have anything at all to do with what we think kids should be getting out of it – no! The central question is what are the kids actually getting out of it.
Children can often be mysterious, leaving parents and teachers guessing about what they’re thinking. It’s hard to get a handle on what’s inspiring for them – what things will lead them to personal growth and confidence. Sport has long been a way that we’ve seen to access personal development in children, but it’s fantastic to get some serious confirmation!
We recently had a new student join our club at AFM, a 12 year old girl named Erica. Like many students, Erica has quickly just fallen in love with the sport. What’s amazing is that this bright and articulate young woman has shared her perspective on fencing with us through an essay. Today (with her permission), we share her essay with you.