Academy of Fencing Masters Blog

Art of Fencing, Art of Life

Month: May 2020

9 Must See TED Talks for Fencers

Nine Must See TED Talks for Fencers

Quarantine is a time when you’ve got some extra time. That makes this a wonderful chance to inject some inspiration into your fencing! TED Talks are a perfect way to do that. 

It’s not always about what a fencer does in the club or with their coach, much of the development of a fencer happens in learning and growing and thinking outside of their actual training. We’re always wanting to expand what we know and so improve. 

TED Talks are an incredible resource for learning and growing. If you aren’t familiar, TED stands for “Technology, Entertainment, Design” and are short presentations given by expert speakers in sanctioned conferences held around the world. The organization has been doing this for over thirty years, and it continues to grow. You’ll find thousands of free TED Talks online dealing with every subject imaginable, and they are almost universally compelling. 

We’ve collected nine TED Talks that we find to be beneficial for fencers. Some of these talk about goals or thinking, some of them have nothing to do with sports, and two specifically about fencing. They’re perfect to watch on a cell phone or tablet anywhere you are, and you’ll find each to give you an extra push of motivation for your fencing!

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How Fencing Moms are Stepping up in COVID-19

How Fencing Moms are Stepping up in COVID-19

Moms have a way of grounding us and making things better. This is especially true in times of turmoil, and we’re certainly in a time of turmoil right now. 

Home has become everything to us. It’s where we eat and sleep, where we work and go to school, where we play and where we fence. What was once the center of our lives and our families is still the center, but now it’s more than that. Now home is everything.

This means that moms are doing even more than they did before. We already know that they did so much! It is more important now than it ever has been before that we appreciate our fencing moms step up to make life happen.

It’s a big job

Making a family run under normal circumstances is a big job. Making one run in a global crisis is an even bigger job. We know that fencing moms are picking up a lot of slack, and they’re doing all kinds of roles that they didn’t do before. 

Suddenly, moms are called on to be teachers for homeschool. They are chefs that must keep everyone fed. They are fencing coaches who make sure that online practice happens. They are entertainers who keep everyone’s spirits up. They are disease experts who keep track of what precautions must be taken. They are counselors who listen to the struggles and fears of the household. 

If there was any down time for fencing moms before this time, we know that there is even less of it now. Being a mother was always a 24/7 job, but now in this crisis it is even more intense. 

The seismic change that we’ve experienced in the last couple of months is absolutely mind blowing, and it’s affected moms a whole lot. 

You know what else? Moms have fears and doubts too. They feel overwhelmed sometimes and unsure of the future. Though moms put on a brave face for their families, this time is wearing on them too. We see in our mothers a strength that is inspiring and that we must not ever take for granted. Our moms keep us grounded and sane, they keep us going in this crisis. There is just no other way to think about it. Fencing moms are keeping it together for us. 

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Parenting Insight from Elena Grishina, Champion Fencing Mom of the World’s #1 Epee Fencer, Sergey Bida

Sergey Bida and Elena Grishina
Sergey Bida and Elena Grishina

Even if you are a fencing champion yourself, there is still a lot of learning that happens on the job when you’re a fencing parent. This is something that we learned from Elena Grishina, mom of Russian epee fencer Sergey Bida, part of a championship sporting family, during our recent interview with her. 

Grishina is a Russian foilist who competed in the 1988 and 1992 Olympics, barely missing out on a podium finish. She comes from an Olympic family – her father was an Olympic water polo medalist, and her brother is an Olympic water polo champion. Her mother was a foil fencer who also made it to the podiums in two Olympics, was a six time World Champion, and was Russian sport royalty. Her son, Sergey, is now poised to take his place among the upper echelon of sport with his current number one world rank in epee. She herself is a highly visible writer and commentator in fencing.

We were lucky to sit down (via zoom) with Elena to talk about her perspective on fencing today, and on her role as a mother to a high level fencing competitor. It’s an interview that delighted and challenged us, pushing our understanding of fencing parenting into new areas. 

Thank you tremendously for your incredible point of view and for sharing it with us! This interview will be a great read for fencing parents and fencers alike as well word to improve, even in these liminal times. 

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Don Anthony, President of USA Fencing on COVID-19, College, and the Future of Fencing

Donald Anthony, Jr, President of USA Fencing and Alisher Usmanov, President of FIE
Don Anthony with FIE President Alisher Usmanov

In a time when things are constantly changing, one thing that remains constant is the sport of fencing. During this time, we have been honored to be able to sit down for a Zoom interview with the indomitable Don Anthony, president of USA Fencing, Vice President of the International Fencing Federation, and head fencing coach at the Ohio State University. He’s a man who has a long history of success on and off the strip, as a former championship fencer and a highly successful businessman. He has the kind of credentials and success that put him comfortably among the leaders in American fencing.

What you’ll get from Don in this interview is some true and fascinating insight in this global pandemic, from the standpoint of fencing. It’s a moment of clarity for us in what are undeniably uncertain times. There are not easy answers presented here, but rather a pragmatic and realistic approach to what the impact of COVID-19 can and might well be on college fencing, training, fencing clubs, and beyond. 

Don Anthony, thank you so much for this remarkable conversation. It is an important part of the wider conversation that we must have as a fencing community.

An Interview with USA Fencing’s Don Anthony

Igor – It’s a pleasure seeing you. Thank you so much for your time. It’s a big honor. Please tell us first of all how you are doing?

Don Anthony – It’s a pleasure seeing you too. We’re all doing fine, we’re quite well. I thought I was going to have a lot of down time, but I haven’t had any downtime. It’s been just video and conference calls, just managing the changing environment. From that perspective, it’s not been what I thought.

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