Academy of Fencing Masters Blog

Art of Fencing, Art of Life

How Fencing Breaks Down Cultural Barriers

How Fencing Breaks Down Cultural Barriers

Though fencers are at opposite ends of swords pointed at one another, they aren’t building opposition but connection. Sport in general offers us the chance to connect with one another, but fencing is something truly special. That’s thanks not only to the way that fencers interact with one another, but also with the way that fencing is structured in its competitive aspect.

Sports is the common denominator in the world that brings everyone together. If there’s any one place in the world where there is equality, it is probably sports. That was something that didn’t always exist. We’ve come a long way in sports. Why can’t society use sports as a way to bring people together and create change? – Stephen M. Ross

Fencing gives us the chance to break down cultural barriers.

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Road to Tokyo – Qualification Path for Fencing to Tokyo Olympic Games 2020

Road to Tokyo - Qualification Path for Fencing to Tokyo Olympic Games 2020The road to Tokyo starts here, April 2019.

People, even people within an Olympic sport, often wonder how exactly one makes it to the Olympic Games. This only happens once every four years, and between the years there are always changes that happen. In between, it can be hard to keep track of what’s what and how things are going to go.

This time around there are some critical changes that potentially have an effect on who will make the cut. If you’re new to following Olympic fencing qualification, then here we’re going to spell it out for you. If you’re not, then read on to find out the new changes.

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Fencing Mindset – Afraid to Lose or Want to Win?

Fencing Mindset - Afraid to Lose or Want to Win?Perspective is everything.

How a fencer thinks about fencing has a massive effect on how they perform. Two fencers who have the same amount of talent and skill can do dramatically differently in competition depending on how they think about it. It’s not only how many hours you put in in practice or what kind of equipment – how you frame your thinking about competition is equally as important.

On the other side of every fencing match are two options for the fencer:

  • A win.
  • A loss.

Are you driven to win or afraid to lose? While it might seem that both lines of thinking lead to the same end, that’s not entirely true. Which one you put the emphasis on changes how you feel, how you think, and how you fence. There is a huge difference between the two! One mindset is great for achievement, the other is terrible. How you approach the challenges and demands of fencing is critically important.

Which is which? Let’s talk about that.

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Smart Device to Help Fencers to Combat New Unwillingness to Fight Rule in Fencing

Smart Device to Help Fencers to Combat New Unwillingness to Fight Rule in FencingThe new unwillingness to fight rule in fencing has created a lot of confusion among fencers, even veteran fencers. It’s something everyone has been talking about since it went into effect earlier this year, and we’re always working to find new solutions for fencers who need to address problems like this one.

With this new rule, fencers must constantly be aware of the clock. With this new rule, if you don’t keep track of how much time has gone by then you might be in for a rough surprise in the form of a p-card! That’s hard to do in the middle of a fight when you’re also worried about your opponent getting a point against you! Even when the scoring apparatus has a timer, it’s hard to keep track of how much time has elapsed since the last touch. That problem gets even worse for a fencer in the middle of a fight when there is no timer on the scoring machine, with the ref using his or her own timer or their smartphone to direct the bout.

A lot of fencers have gotten caught getting a significant number of p-cards, including p-red and p-black cards as a result of these simple confusions.

Is there no way to better manage this problem? Surely there must be some answer to save us from the terrible fate of getting carded in a bout for something so simple and easy to track as the time?

We’re glad you asked.

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A Lesson in Inspiration – the Fencing Grand Prix in Anaheim

Absolute Fencing Gear Foil Grand Prix Anaheim 2019There are fencing competitions, and then there are fencing competitions.

The fencing Grand Prix is a fencing competition that is unlike anything else in America. There are certainly other competitions in the world that have a similar stature in terms of size or media coverage or fencing prowess, but not here in the United States. It’s a yearly exercise in the best, and it’s something I look forward to year after year.

What is the Fencing Grand Prix?

When we think of the words “Grand Prix”, for lots of people that brings to mind automobile racing. Honestly in fencing it’s much the same as it is in car racing, except instead of cars racing around courses in different parts of the world on the hunt for the top prize, it’s fencers chasing each other across the strip to hunt for the top prize.

The international governing body of fencing, FIE, organizes a series of nine events around the globe each year for the best fencers in the world to meet and challenge themselves. These competitions are called the Grand Prix, and they take place literally all over the world.

  • Men’s and Women’s Epee – Doha, Qatar
  • Men’s and Women’s Epee – Budapest, Hungary
  • Men’s and Women’s Epee – Cali, Columbia
  • Men’s and Women’s Foil – Turin, Italy
  • Men’s and Women’s Foil – Anaheim California, USA
  • Men’s and Women’s Foil – Shanghai, China
  • Men’s and Women’s Sabre – Caire, Egypt
  • Men’s and Women’s Sabre – Seoul, South Korea
  • Men’s and Women’s Sabre – Moscow, Russia

You can see that there are three Grand Prix held for each weapon, and that they are held across the globe. The competitions run from January through May, with fencers vying for international rankings and qualification for other competitions.

Grand Prix are different from the Fencing World Cup competitions, of which there are five each year. They are also distinct from zonal championships, which cover only a certain region of the world. The world rankings are fed into through qualification from World Cup, Grand Prix, and zonal competitions. The Olympics are a totally different thing, governed by a different organization, the IOC. Satellite competitions are held in addition to all of these other international competitions.

So there you are, the basics of the Fencing Grand Prix.

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