Art of Fencing, Art of Life

Month: April 2020

Fencing News – FIE’s Response to Coronavirus, Olympic Qualification, and Competition Schedules

Fencing News - FIE Response to Coronavirus, Olympic Qualification, and Competition Schedules

Things are continuing to evolve in the realm of fencing thanks to COVID-19. New developments from FIE are coming to our attention consistently, particularly now that the Olympics have been officially postponed to July 2021

Recently there has been a letter circulating on Instagram that appears to be officially from FIE and that addresses what things will look like for international competition and Olympic qualification in the wake of coronavirus. We should point out that we have not been able to find this information in an official capacity directly from FIE, but the letter looks legitimate and so we thought we would address it. You’ll find an image of it above. (Edit 4/16/2020 – the source is here)

FIE response to Coronavirus

Let’s break down what this letter says. Basically, here’s what you’ve got:

  • the rankings are frozen where they were when things began to be canceled in March of this year. 
  • all international competitions are suspended for April, May, and June
  • plans to re-engage competitions will not begin until the global situation is deemed safe 

That’s the basics, though you can read more deeply to find out further specifics. This is of course a constantly evolving situation.

Understanding the FIE’s decision

This decision is interesting, because it also gives the current leaders (teams and individuals) their ability to preserve their standing for now. That is good news for the USA teams as we have already qualified all six teams, three weapons with two genders each. 

FIE has decided not to start from scratch for the 2020 Olympics (which will now happen in 2021).  This means that there will not be many surprises, precisely because some teams are already qualified. 

Now to the question to the federations and in particular to USA Fencing. Will they freeze the country’s internal individual ranking in a similar way as FIE? What competitions will count toward qualification? These are the questions that are pushing against us now because this might change things dramatically for the country’s fencers. This FIE’s letter definitely gave a clarity on the international level, which is great and was much needed. Some people will not like it, some will. I personally think that having a plan is a great thing. Now, early in the game of this whole scenario, will know what the international rules are and have a good sense of direction. 

Dates are still unclear, but that is the nature of this situation and we will all have to wait for that to unfold. There is a hint in the letter – the conditions of resuming qualifying events are based on situation everywhere and also the ability of athletes to return to normal preparation. Given that, I think all these events will happen around the same time frame as those which were cancelled, namely in March and April next year, maybe a bit earlier. This will give a good year to the world to fight off this pandemic, and will “guarantee “ the federations have enough time to clear their situation if their countries are still affected later this year. It will also make sure the athletes have the time they need. 

However you look at it, knowing is a good thing. Knowledge is power as they say, and so now we can feel a little more power in a time that is marked by feelings of not having any control. It is a step towards the future and to fencing getting back on track!

Maximizing Online Fencing Training Part 2 – A Guide for Fencers and Fencing Parents

Maximizing Online Fencing Sessions Part 2 - A Guide for Fencers and Fencing Parents

Screen time has become fencing time in the bold new world of coronavirus with online fencing training. It’s a time that is unusual and challenging, but it’s one that we know we can get through if we work together and stay positive. Fencing is a sport that is remarkable in all of its adaptability, and today we are pushing the boundaries of that adaptability. 

That all sounds well and good, but how do fencing families take the most advantage of online fencing classes during the time of COVID-19? Many schools are offering online classes, and for those fencers who don’t have access to online classes from their own school, some fencing clubs have opened online classes to fencers who still want instruction even when their clubs are not offering socially distanced options. 

When you do participate in online fencing training , things are a bit different than when you participate in in-person fencing classes. The platform is different, and so there are different ways to maximize the benefit. Here are our tips for making online fencing training work out for fencers at home. 

Maximizing Online Fencing Sessions Part 1 – A Guide for Fencing Clubs and Coaches

Maximizing Online Fencing Sessions - A Guide for Fencing Clubs and Coaches

This is a brave new world that we are living in. It’s one that none of us has any experience with, not even the experts that are our fencing coaches and fencing club owners. It can be daunting to try to translate the real and in person experience of teaching fencing to this new age of social distancing. 

The truth is that fencing training has been basically unchanged for hundreds of years. You have an experienced coach. You have a fencer who wants to learn. You put them together in a room and let the magic happen. Being in the same room has been a necessary requirement for learning fencing since its inception. Now, we cannot be in the same room anymore. As such, there is no playbook for this scenario. You can’t pick up a book by Aldo Nadi and learn how to effectively teach fencing through screens.

We have learned a lot in the almost month long quarantine that we have been under, and our coaches have done a whole lot of learning in real time through our online fencing programs

Here’s what we’ve learned so far, and what we want to share with fencing clubs and coaches to help you maximize the benefits of online learning. 

Talking Fencing and Coronavirus with Michael Aufrichtig, Fencing Head Coach at Columbia University

Talking Fencing and Coronavirus with Michael Aufrichtig, Head Fencing Coach at Columbia University

AFM recently had the amazing opportunity to sit down (virtually) with Michael Aufrichtig, the head coach of the Columbia University fencing team. He lives and coaches in New York City, which is of course the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the United States. Through our interview, we were able to talk about training during the coronavirus pandemic, how competitive fencing is going to be potentially affected by all of this, and to gain some insight into the uncertainty for fencers who are pursuing their college fencing dream during a global crisis.

We cannot say enough how honored we were to be able to get this insight from one of the top fencing coaches in the United States. If you are not familiar with Michael, then after you read this interview we highly recommend that you watch his TED talk about his innovative coaching style, which is incredibly unusual in fencing. He is nothing short of a titan in the collegiate sport today, and his insight is invaluable to all fencers.

Thank you Michael for your time and your insight! It is of a great help to the fencing community in this time of uncertainty.

(When the Zoom call opens, Michael is sitting in what appears to be the fencing training facility at Columbia University.)

World’s First Zoom Fencing Competition

World's First Zoom Fencing Competition

Challenging times require new creative solutions. For fencers, one of the biggest challenges of a new lockdown reality is their inability to fence against real opponents. But don’t worry, we have you covered.

Introducing World’s First Zoom Fencing Competition!

While we take fencing very seriously, we like to laugh from time to time. Happy April Fools Day! Stay healthy, positive and keep your distance!

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