The thing about fencing is that in every bout there’s always a winner and a loser. The winner gets to walk away with the joy of having bested his or her opponent, but what does the loser walk away with? It turns out that to lose fencing bout is not that bad, actually the loser walks away with a LOT.
1. Losing Fencing Bout Provides Opportunities to Grow
When you lose a match, you get the chance to grow as a fencer. What have you been practicing that worked really well? What have you been practicing that didn’t work at all?
When you win all the time, you tend to get caught in the same loop of doing things. Your stances don’t improve, your footwork stays static, you don’t have a great reason to grow as an athlete. But when you lose, you suddenly have this amazing emotional fuel from that loss that spurs you on to doing more. More for your fencing, more for your physical fitness, more for your focus.
Often we’re caught in the trap of feeling as though we have just the right understanding of what’s going on in our fencing. But the truth is that in fencing one of the best things that we DON’T know everything. After a loss is a great time to take stock and figure out what chance you have to get more out of your fencing.
2. Losing Fencing Bout Gives A New Perspective
Losing offers us the chance to get a new perspective on things. Whether it’s a new perspective on what it means to win or a new perspective on why we’re training, losing a match gives us the chance to look at what’s going on in our understanding of ourselves and to make changes.
This is especially true of those so close wins that we’re all familiar with. When we lose just by a hair and out of the blue! You think you’ve got the bout locked up, think that you know your opponent and that you can’t lose, and the all of a sudden you find yourself at the end of three minutes with a serious deficit of points. What happened? You’re suddenly challenged by the events of the last few minutes and have to change the way you think.
3. Losing Fencing Bout Teaches Us Empathy
This is a BIG reason why it’s so good to lose.
If we won all the time, then we wouldn’t know what it felt like to be on the other side of the score. Losing teaches us to care about the way that others feel, about the way that others experience the world. That win that you just got? It felt completely different to the person on the other side.
Losing makes us appreciate our opponents. Because they’re people too – people who wanted to win just as badly as we did but were on the wrong side this time. Losing teaches us to be good sports about fencing, and by extension it teaches us to be good sports about life.
4. Losing Fencing Bout Highlights A Higher Purpose
What’s the reason that you’re fencing anyway? This sport is about more than just clanging swords or getting touches, it’s about learning about ourselves and expanding. Yes, we can indeed get pretty philosophical about fencing. That’s one of the things that we love about it!
Art of fencing. Art of life.
As a fencer, we are drawn to the deeper understandings that there are to be had of this sport. We want to uncover our inner drives, our higher purpose.
This is especially true at fencing competitions, particularly high level competitions. You might have spent months training for competition, preparing for what’s coming with travel plans. There are financial things going on when you head out to a competition. The goal was obviously to go and win right? Or was it?
Losing gives us the chance to take a breath and to look over what it means to be a fencer. What it means to be more than just a person trying to get points. It’s about the passion and the fire – and losing doesn’t put that fire out, it just makes it glow a little brighter.
We’re not saying that we don’t love to win, and we’re not saying that winning isn’t amazing and absolutely the goal. What we are saying is that winning isn’t the only thing that we get out of fencing.
Rather than viewing a loss on the strip as a terrible-horrible-nogood-verybad thing, look at instead as a wonderful-inspirational-gamechanging-superawesome opportunity!
Photo: By Fabrice Coffrini/AFP (published on MSNBC): Tunisia’s Ines Boubakri reacts after losing Italy’s Elisa di Francisca in their women’s individual foil semi-final bout as part of the fencing event of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Carioca Arena 3 in Rio de Janeiro on Aug. 10, 2016.