Oftentimes we find that fencers fence fantastically when they are up against very strong opponents, but then when they come up against less advanced fencers they come up short. This is especially true with novice fencers. Why is that?
Author: Igor Chirashnya (Page 1 of 29)
Without thinking, without overanalyzing, answer this question – “What’s the most important thing in fencing?”
If your answer was “winning the match”, then we need to talk. Though winning is the ultimate goal of any sport, it’s not the driving force behind playing. Winning is not the reason that we play! Yet somewhere along the line, winning became this ultimate, hugely important thing. That’s not just in fencing, it’s something that we see across the board in sports. Everyone seems to think that winning is the thing that’s at the top of the list! The problem is that putting that kind of emphasis on winning is ultimately detrimental to everyone – especially new fencers.
Being a referee is one of the very important ways that a young fencer can learn to master the sport. It’s a fantastic way for young fencers to take on some additional responsibilities and for them to learn more about the sport of fencing. The level of knowledge and understanding that a young fencer gets from refereeing is on a much deeper level than what they’ll get just by fencing!
Calling the rules vs. being called
Young fencers who start refereeing learn to see the game differently. Suddenly it’s not just them against a singular opponent – it’s much more of them seeing the bout of the two fencers as they work against one another. More than anything, refereeing a fencing match gives young fencers perspective. When you’re in a fencing match, especially as a young person, you’re so focused on winning that you can’t see the whole of what’s happening on the strip. A referee, on the other hand, has a much wider perspective than just seeing this one aspect of the strip. This completely changes how a fencer understands fencing!
Fencing is a sport of the mind, much much more than it is a sport of the body. We learn early on in fencing to control our minds so that we can control our bodies more effectively on the strip. It’s something that fencing coaches talk about, something that elite fencers focus on.
Keeping that positive outlook is important to all fencers. It’s important on competition day, but it’s arguably more important in the daily grind of fencing practice. A great outlook will make your fencing practice better and thereby your fencing better!
If your child is fencing a teammate, what should you do?
This is a tough situation, and it’s one that isn’t all that uncommon. Depending on the level that your child is fencing at and how big your fencing club is, it’s quite possible for your child to end up fencing one of their teammates during a competition.
Tournament organizers work hard to keep fencers from the same club from fencing against each other in the pool, but it’s not always possible. But in the Direct Elimination round, when the opponents are defined based on the previous pool round, fencers are very likely to face their own teammates. This can happen in any competition, small local ones or big national and even international tournaments.