Academy of Fencing Masters Blog

Art of Fencing, Art of Life

8 Essential Skills for Beginner Young Fencing Referees to Master

8 Essential Ref Skills for Beginner Young Fencing Referees to MasterYouth fencing brings with it youth referees, an aspect of our sport that’s good all the way round.

As a fencing father and a fencing event organizer, I’ve watched as beginner and young fencing referees work their way through calling matches. They start officiating at tournaments at a very young age, down to age twelve and sometimes even to age ten! That’s a fantastic thing as it develops referees, it develops fencers, it instills confidence, and so much more. Handing over a match to a young fencer shows them that the adults in their life trust them to make smart, level headed decisions.

Making mistakes is a part of life. Refs at the national level make mistakes. Refs at the Olympic level make mistakes. However a lack of experience means that young refs make more mistakes than those veterans with years of calling matches under their belt. What’s more, young refs tend to make the same kinds of mistakes again and again. While we can’t instantly give our young fencing referees years of experience with a snap of the fingers, we can teach them how to remedy their most common mistakes by mastering fencing referee skills.

Note that when we talk about these important fencing referee skills, we aren’t talking about the details of technical decisions and rules. Those are aspects of being a ref that young fencers should go to their coaches and mentors to deal with. Instead these are guidelines for all of fencing refereeing that exists outside of the technical aspects of the sport.

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What It Takes to Be a Fencing Dad

what it takes to be a fencing dadOnce you have children, it’s never quite ever about you anymore. Your life revolves for the better (and rarely for the worse) around your child and their development into healthy, well functioning human beings. And most parents agree that all of this is not only worth it but immensely gratifying and even fun! Having what it takes to be a fencing dad isn’t much different.

When it comes to being involved in a sport like fencing, your job as a father can often be thankless, exhausting, and also stressful. But at the same time, it can be very rewarding to see your child find success and joy in the sport they love.

Here are three valuable lessons I’ve learned from my years of being a fencing dad.

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7 Points of Failure in a Fencing Tournament

Russian Fencer Timur Safin Contemplates His Lost to Race Imboden at Anaheim Grand Prix 2018 - 7 points of failure in fencing competition

Stepping into the tournament venue at the start of a fencing competition is exhilarating. The air is saturated with possibility, because truly anything is possible for a competitive fencer on a tournament day.

Failure is a natural part of competition, and it’s a natural part of life. Fencers face little failures every day in training, not just in competition. Overcoming setbacks is a skill that we as people must develop. We don’t want to paint it as a big monster to be frightened of, but we do want to minimize it!

Through talking to fencers and parents, it occurred to me that there are seven places during the natural flow of competition where fencers face failure. A typical competition consists of several bouts in pool rounds, followed by several bouts in the Direct Elimination round, and finally there is the feeling of loss when a whole day or a whole competition doesn’t go the way a fencer wants it to. There are similar patterns through the competition format where fencers potentially find themselves struggling with loss.

These seven common points of failure in a fencing tournament are challenges that we see fencers come up against again and again. Knowing them goes a long way towards transforming these potential failures into opportunities.

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Fencer Emoji – A Very Unscientific Ranking

activity emoji in iOS - including cool fencer emojiLet’s first of all be excited that a fencer is part of the standard emoji set! The fencer was added to Emoji 3.0 and Unicode 9.0 in 2016. What that means that this is a standard emoji that you can use everywhere no matter what your device. You can send the little fencer emoji to anyone and everyone in your contacts list not matter what you’re using OR they’re using. It shows how prominent fencing is becoming!

Emojipedia tells us that this fencer’s official name is “person fencing”, which isn’t much of a name but it sure is an accurate description. What you might not know is that not every fencing emoji is the same, depending on what platform you’re using. We were honestly shocked to discover how widely these fencers vary! Could they even really be considered the same fencer, or are there different fencers in different emoji universes?

The following pictures are taken from Emojipedia and cover all of the major platforms. Go ahead, check your devices and see what your fencer looks like. (I did when I  started writing this.)

Below we rank the eight most common fencer emoji from silliest to most realistic. We also talk a little bit about what each of these fencers is probably thinking, what’s going on with them, and at times we question the reality of the emoji universe.

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The anatomy of a fencing sword

The Anatomy of the Fencing Sword - Everything you need to know about composition, materials and qualities and differences of the modern fencing swordsFencing as a distinct form of combat goes all the way back to the 12th century when fencing schools started to spring up in Europe. Even to those first fencers the sword was seen as extension of the body. Fencing swords are more than just pieces of metal, they are pieces of us.  

To the uninitiated, a fencing sword is a long piece of thin metal with a handle and a guard. It looks quite simple on the outside, but every piece and part of the fencing sword has a name and a purpose. These weapons were developed over the course of centuries of consistent use, and let’s just say that fencers have become detail oriented about their weapons.

New fencers might not know the names of all of the parts of their weapon, but it’s knowledge that helps fencers to become true masters of this art. So let’s review the parts of the fencing sword! We’ll start at the bottom and work our way up.

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