Art of Fencing, Art of Life

Month: February 2014

AFM Fencers Did Great at Northern California RYC


Coach Alexander and boysAFM Fencers did really good at the latest Regional Youth Circuit (RYC) in San Francisco on February 22-23, 2014, claiming 6 medals, among which are:

Bartosz Kuligowski took first place at Y10 Men’s Epee
Jade Welder took second place at Y12 Women’s Epee
Alexander Javorski took third place at Y14 Men’s Epee
William Elloway was 5th at Y10 Men’s Epee
Yakov Shur was 7th at Y10 Men’s Epee
Connor Mao was 7th at Y10 Men’s Foil

Northern California RYC Epee 1-2-3 - v4

Fantastic job by the guys! Way to go!


Keeping it fun and safe at Academy of Fencing Masters

Coach Alexandr explains safety rules to new fencing students

Coach Alexandr explains safety rules to new fencing students

While fencing is one of the safest sports your child can participate in (see “How Safe Is Fencing?”), we take it one step further by anticipating any potential hazards and eliminating them.  Our goal is to create a fun, nurturing and SAFE environment for your children.

Safety on the strip

At Academy of Fencing Masters, we never forget that epees and foils – as protected as they are – still are weapons, and we treat them as such. 

Is fencing safe?

IMG_4067As a parent, I know that at first blush the idea of fencing can sound dangerous.  Putting my child in a sport where the objective is to stab each other with a sword?!  But fencing is actually one of the safest sports you can bring your kids into – plus your child will reap long-lasting benefits.  These benefits go beyond the fundamentals of the sport – staying with your child throughout their lives, helping them to grow into the confident, strong person that he or she is capable of.

I really want to show parents who aren’t familiar with fencing just how safe it is – so when I saw this graph, I was immediately struck by what a powerful tool it was to illustrate the safety aspect of fencing in comparison to other sports.

How fencing can give your child extra advantages in life

How Fencing Can Give Your Child Extra Advantage in Life

As parents, we want to give our children every advantage in life we can afford.  I love fencing because it can help your child build their strength on so many levels.  How many sports do you know of that can give your child a physical and mental challenge while building their confidence, social skills, and academic future?  Sounds almost too good to be true, doesn’t it?  But this is exactly what fencing can do for your children.

With its rapid footwork and thrusting, your child will get a high-impactaerobic workout.  He or she will build stamina, strength, and coordination.  I like to think of fencing as a type of dance, because we use the same sort of skill set – understanding timing, tempo, measure and velocity.

Likewise, in the dance of fencing, the student has to develop a sense of body awareness, not only knowing how their own body is positioned, but how they are positioned in relation to his or her opponent.  This body awareness is something that transcends beyond fencing – it’s a huge part of healthy living!  At Academy of Fencing Masters, we encourage our students to be aware of one’s body and the awesome machine that it is; adopting healthy attitudes and eating habits.  Fencing will instill in your child the idea of treating their body as an instrument and a temple … and taking care of it!

Fencing is also a terrific stress reliever.  Your child can release their aggression and frustration through fencing in a controlled environment.  When they go to the strip, nothing else matters.  All problems and worries melt away – as they concentrate on technique and strategy.  Some of our high school students say that fencing is their escape from the pressures of peers and school.

Fencing improves your child’s strategic thinking and academic discipline

Fencing is obviously a very physical sport, but what most people don’t know is that there is a whole other mental layer that goes with it.  It’s like a game of physical chess:  Every move by the opponent spurs a reaction and response.  The key is learning to think strategically so that you can score a hit, or point.  While coaches provide a lot of guidance and training during practice, the real mental challenge comes on the strip when the fencer is squaring off against his/her opponent.  There, all the thinking that goes on is independent.  Your child has to learn to focus, be intuitive, and stay in the moment.  Fencing will teach your kids to think on their feet – a valuable skill that will stay with them all through their lives, helping them academically, socially, and in the workplace.

By the way, colleges LOVE fencers!  Many colleges actively recruit applicants with fencing backgrounds, even going as far as to offer fencing scholarships.  Look for our upcoming blog post:  University Advantage of Fencers.

Confidence booster

Fencing is a wonderful tool to bolster confidence.  To meet an opponent’s attack, the fencer has to be quick on their feet with their defensive strategy; this means there’s no time for second-guessing oneself.  Fencing requires bold moves and self-assuredness both in defense and offense.  At Academy of Fencing Masters, we stress body position to exhibit this perception of confidence by standing straight and tall.

This is the one sport where size doesn’t matter, only skill.  I’ve seen fencers win competitions against opponents twice their size because they had the skill and talent to do so.  It’s an amazing thing!  This is one of the few sports that evens the playing field between size, age, sexes, ethnicity and personality.  I can’t think of another sport that even comes close to doing that!

Likewise, fencing is a sport where parents and children can compete together.  It is not unusual to meet a parent and son or daughter fencing in the same competition.  In fact, we recently hosted a Senior Mixed Foil tournament.  What a wonderful thing to watch a father and his teen son compete together.  We also had a mother and her teen daughter on the same day in another event.  It’s a great way for a family to bond together:  sharing the same passion and vision in a sport – especially during the teenage years when the ties with our kids can become strained.

Expanding your child’s social circle

While many people who aren’t enthusiastic about team sports may enjoy the individuality that fencing offers, I think one of the biggest benefits your child will appreciate is the ability to make friends.  Fencing bridges the gap between age differences, sexes, size, and ethnicity – opening the door to a network of friends that might not have been available through everyday venues such as school.  This will give your kids exposure to many different types of personalities and experiences they might not have otherwise faced.

Fencing is one of the few sports where kids can compete not only on a local level, but nationally and internationally as well.  Fencers often have the ability to meet — and even compete against — professional fencers on a regular basis.  This is not something likely to happen in other sports such as basketball or baseball.  Interacting with their fencing idols and competing outside their locale can have an enormous impact on your child.  I think Jason Sheridan says it best in his article on

“It changes his idea of what’s possible.  It makes greatness seem achievable.  Once a child has that belief – once he sees that becoming truly excellent at something is actually doable – it can alter the way he approaches everything in his life.  It can change the way he deals with adversity.  There is nothing better you can ask from a sport.”

I couldn’t agree more.

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