Academy of Fencing Masters Blog

Art of Fencing, Art of Life

Month: January 2019

How Niche is Niche? Exploring the Reach of Fencing

How Niche is Niche? Exploring the Reach of FencingThough people throw around the word “sport” as though it’s just one thing, that’s of course a blanket way to use the term. There are dozens of sports that have risen up to the mainstream in the United States, many more if you count those around the world. Even the world’s most widely known athletic competition, the Olympics, does not include popular sports like American football and cricket, while at the same time highlighting smaller niche sports like archery, curling, and yes fencing.

That reality got me to thinking, how niche is our niche sport? Unlike many other sports, it seems like even people who have never dreamed of fencing know at least that it is out there. The footprint of our sport is bigger than that of say rowing or polo. Maybe it’s because of the history or the movies, or because everyone picked up sticks in the backyard when they were kids. However though everyone seems to have an idea of what fencing is, the sport itself is extraordinarily small.

Read More

Don’t Cruise the Pools in Fencing Competitions: A Fencing Life Lesson

Don’t Cruise the Pools in Fencing Competitions: A Fencing Life LessonAt what point is it ok to just get by? You know, do the least amount of effort to get the biggest reward. It’s a strategy that we offer our fencers quite often on the strip. Conserve your energy, get that point with the least expenditure of movement as possible. That’s effective in the context of a match, but taken out of context it’s a recipe for overconfidence and eventual decline.

Taking the easy way

Sometimes we see fencers, particularly relatively new fencers, try to make it through a fencing competition with the least amount of effort. They figure out that they are the best fencer in their pool, so they don’t try their best. “The idea is to make it through to the Direct Elimination (DE) round anyway right? It doesn’t matter how you get there, just that you get there, and it’s better to be seeded high” they think.

To do this, these fencers will use the same advance again and again. They’ll score the same type of touches over and over, phoning in scores and cruising their way to the DE’s. It’s an easy ego boost, a puffed up way to progress through the rounds of fencing competition.

It’s the same thing that we see sometimes in very smart children, which to be fair our fencers are often very bright students in school. They go to class and get through the work without being challenged. Rather than ask their teacher for harder work that pushes them to grow, they just do the work that comes easily to them and get those grades.

In fact you can go through your whole life like this right? Do the easy thing, get the easy praise, never push yourself to your full potential. It doesn’t matter anyway as long as you are better than someone else, even if that someone else is much less developed than you are. Better to be a confident big fish in a little pond. Or in this case a little “pool”.

Read More

Turn Fencing Competition Pre-Match Anxiety into a Positive

Turn Fencing Competition Pre-Match Anxiety into a PositiveWe’ve all had the experience of being nervous before an event that we needed to perform well in, whether in school or in sports. That feeling of butterflies in the stomach, a soup of jitters and self doubt, it can feel overwhelming and stressful, especially for young fencers.

Many fencing parents come to us with these kinds of concerns, and they’re completely normal. They have things to say like this:

  • “It seems like my son psyches himself out before he even steps onto the strip! What can I do to help him?”
  • “My daughter gets so nervous on competition day that I have to force her to eat something for breakfast. How can I help her calm down so she can stay healthy?”
  • “This season my child seems even more nervous than he did last season, isn’t this supposed to get better with experience?”

It’s not just parents though, older fencers come in and speak up for themselves as well. Nerves are a factor for athletes at any age and of any experience level. The good news is that there are ways to combat the issues that fencers have with anxiety before a competition. Though they may manifest in different ways, from a lack of appetite to a sudden spike in anxiety after a couple of years of confident fencing. Every fencer is different, but pre-match jitters are pretty well universal.

Read More

5 New Year’s Resolutions Fencers Probably Won’t Keep

5 New Year’s Resolutions Fencers Probably Won’t KeepSo many new year’s resolutions, so little likelihood that they’ll ever happen. Right? We all make these beautiful lists of beautiful things that we’re going to beautifully do in the new year to help our lives/skills/relationships improve, and then we get bummed out when those things don’t happen. Fencing, for many being a big part of their life, often suffer from the same syndrome of unkempt resolutions.

This whole thing sounds like a big bummer!

It’s not! When we recognize the bad goals that we tend to make, that leaves us room to make realistic goals. Instead of either making ridiculous New Year’s resolutions that are really unlikely to happen, or on the other side just not making any at all, how about we work to strike a balance?

But here we are getting ahead of ourselves. First, we’ve got to identify some common resolutions that fencers often make year after year, only to end in frustration when they don’t keep them.

Read More

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén