Art of Fencing, Art of Life

16 Things that Only Fencers Understand

Only fencers understand that you can use anything for the fencing sword, even bread-sticks at the restaurant!There are many things in this world that, let’s face it, you can only understand if you’ve experienced them. One of those things is fencing – there is specific stuff that will only make sense to you if you’ve been a fencer.

That’s not to say that there’s anything better about fencers than about other kinds of people, but these things are what bind us together – that shared experience. Once you’ve been a part of the world of fencing, you can’t turn your back on it, not really ever. You’ve been a part of something special.

Here are sixteen things that only fencers understand:

The sensation of trying to hit someone with a sword while they try to stab you.

Though there are lots of other sports out there that involve balls being thrown, balls being kicked, the human body flying through the air or moving at a fast pace, only fencers can really understand what it’s like to feel the rush of a sword feverishly swiping at you.

Fencing is more than an Olympic sport

Those who aren’t involved in fencing often think of it as something that’s only for the Olympics. Of course nothing could be further from the truth, as fencing is a year round sport that goes on year in and year out, with lots of major competitions outside of the Olympics.

The intensity of earning that point.

Getting the touch is truly a feeling like no other. There’s incredible mix of excitement, accomplishment, exhaustion and determination that comes with scoring a point on an opponent by tagging them with a sword!

Fencing uses every part of your body.

This is truly a whole body sport. You use everything from your toes to the muscles in your head and neck. Nothing goes untouched in fencing! Those fingers are important for gripping the handle of the sword, while the toes help to propel you forward or backwards out of the way.

This is a massively mental game.

And while fencing works the body so thoroughly, it also works the mind just as deeply. That mental exercise is one of the things that really sets fencing apart from other sport.

Though fencing swords aren’t deadly, they’re not anything to joke about.

Yes, fencing is a sport. No, a sword is not the same as a football. This is still a weapon, still an object that can cause serious harm if it’s not treated with respect.  While fencing is very much a fun sport, very much a thing that we enjoy, evert fencer has a deep respect for the weapon as a weapon.

Not all fencing is the same

Choosing a weapon – epee, foil or sabre, is a deep and major decision in the life of a fencer. Each of these weapons has a vastly different background, a vastly different culture, a vastly different set of rules that govern it all. All fencing is NOT the same! Even if it might look similar, there’s just no way around the fact that these three ways to fence are truly unique.

Fencing swords are super fast

How fast are they? Well they’re the fastest thing in sport besides the bullet. That’s right – faster than a homerun ball or an archer’s arrow, faster than a flying hockey puck or a jumping gymnast. Our blades are incredible.

Given the price, you’d think fencing equipment was made of gold.

Everyone’s jaw drops when they think about how expensive fencing gear is. However that fencing gear is worth every single penny. There’s no way around the fact that the gear is pricey, but when well taken care of it can last for a very, very long time, making it seem a lot less expensive.

Epee can feel like slow motion

Foil and sabre specialists often feel like epee is moving in this slow motion lens, even though the bout is going at full speed!

The history of fencing matters.

This isn’t a sport that came out of fun, it’s one that came out of deadly duels. That real world history is strikingly different than other sports, and it’s something that fuels our understanding of what it means to be a fencer. Our history makes us who we are.

We are always polite to opponents, but also focused on beating them.

One of the best things about fencing is the way that everyone treats each other with respect and dignity. We are marvelously polite. However with all of that bowing and shaking hands, underneath  it all we are definitely serious about winning.

Anything can become a sword.

Any object becomes a powerful weapon in the hands of a fencer. We can fence with pool noodles, crayons, drinking straws, rolled up newspaper, anything! If it’s even close to sword shaped, you’ll find us thrusting and parrying with it.

Which hand you use matters.

That first time that you fence a someone who uses the opposite hand as you, you just never forget it. It’s completely bizarre, it’s completely strange, and it’s completely unforgettable.

Bruises happen and we’re proud of them.

Those things were earned honestly and we love every single one of them! They mean that we were training hard and training with passion. While we wouldn’t call fencing a rough sport (actually it is one of the safest out there), we would readily call it a challenging sport!

Fencing is not what we dreamed it would be.

It’s WAY MORE!!! Though everyone has their notions about what it means to be a fencer, those ideas and assumptions that they have from looking at what it all seems to be in the movies, but rest assured it’s EVEN BETTER! Fencing  is a sport that empowers us and makes us feel like we can take on the world, and frankly we really can. Whatever notions an athlete might have about what fencing will be like, whatever ideas and assumptions, they’re all rubbish. It’s better!

What are some things that you’ve experienced that only fencers understand?


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