Hurray for a wonderful holiday season! For the first time in two years, the holiday season is finally back to some kind of normalcy, thanks to the miracle of vaccines, and we are excited to publish our traditional fencing holiday gift guide.
This year, we’ve put together our annual holiday gift guide, and it’s as big and broad as we are. It’s hard not to be excited about this year! One thing of note here is that supply chain issues are a real problem in 2021. While most of the gifts we’ve included in this holiday gift guide are likely to get to you in time for Christmas, part of the reason we made this gift guide bigger than in years past is to give you more options and ideas in case your favorite fencing gift falls through.
You’ll find this gift guide broken down into five different categories – mental training, exercise/fencing training, books & media, fancy fencing gifts, and silly/fun fencing gifts. There’s something in here for everyone and for every budget, and we can honestly say that we don’t know a fencer who wouldn’t love to find any one of these fencing gifts under the tree!
They say it takes a village to raise a child. It also takes a community to grow a fencer.
A part of fencing that we don’t talk about nearly enough is the positive community that this sport is brimming with. The people in fencing create an overarching sense of belonging and support, whether they are coaches, the club staff, the referees, the officials, the fencers themselves, or the fencing families.
Despite the rivalries and the intense competitive nature of fencing, the whole of the fencing community is an extremely positive environment. Good people are everywhere here, and it’s important that we highlight the good things that are happening within our community to show our appreciation and keep it going.
With the recent successes of American fencers on the International scene and the Gold Medal of Lee Keifer, American fencing has experienced a renewed interest in both the sport and appreciation for all the ways it can benefit students and parents alike.
If you’re interested in trying out competitive fencing, or even recreational fencing, there are a few things to keep in mind before you dive in. Here are nine factors you’ll need to consider as you evaluate joining a fencing club or working with a fencing coach.
Fencing season 2021-2022 is roaring along, and we couldn’t be more excited about what this post-pandemic competition season will look like. This will be the first time in three years that USA Fencing has been able to hold its national competition in the regular format!
We were lucky enough to have a national fencing competition last year, but the points were combined from the canceled 2019-2020 season and last season. This year, the competition will stand on its own for the season.
2022 will see its first NAC will be held on the West Coast – right in San Jose. For the first time, Fencing Summer Nationals and the July Challenge will be held in Minneapolis, Minnesota. All around, we are just incredibly thankful for the chance to get our fencing on track once again for the biggest competition in the United States.
Now the big question is – how do fencers qualify for Fencing Summer Nationals? Here’s what you need to know.
Most of us brag about the wins that we achieve, but we ignore the losses that cripple our confidence. It’s a vicious cycle that turns us around and around, pulling us away from the real potential that we possess. It should not destroy a fencer to lose a match, it should boost them.
This is important in fencing of course, but learning to handle loss in an effective way is a translatable skill that we can apply to all parts of our lives. There is always a sting to a loss, but it should never be so devastating that it keeps us from continuing to move forward. The decision of whether to keep going must be based on our own empowered ability to make choices.
Failure is everywhere
Think about it in terms of social media, because that’s something that just about everyone can relate to.
We see the graduation photo, not the long hours in the library or the rejection letters from colleges that didn’t accept the student.
We see the winner of a talent competition on TV, not all the times they auditioned but didn’t make the cut.
Sure, when someone gets to the top, we often look back retrospectively and find inspiration in all off the times that they got back up and were resilient in the face of defeat, but no one was looking when they actually experienced that defeat. They went through that difficult time in the quiet, perhaps thinking of quitting or wondering if they would be able to come back from the emotional toll that this loss took on them.
There is a sadness to this, but there’s also a real problem because not seeing this means that others don’t know the challenging truths about the path through to that pinnacle. We all lose sight of the tremendous worth that lies in all paths. Many more fencers don’t ever get a gold medal at the World Championships than will ever make it there, and their stories are worthwhile too.
There is failure all around us. All the time. Everywhere we go. By the very nature of competitive achievement, there can only be one person at the top. What makes them stand out is the fact that they have gone beyond everyone else to get there. That’s not to say that there is any less value in the people who lose – quite the opposite. Most of the time we will not reach the goal, and so we must find value in that loss. It can be strengthening. It can be fulfilling. It can even be exciting.
We cannot get past this simple truth – failure surrounds us. And that’s not a bad thing.