Art of Fencing, Art of Life

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.

1. I resolve to cross train every day.

Cross training is good stuff, and it can absolutely enhance your fencing. Weight training and cardio are both solid options for fencers to improve their muscle control and their stamina, not to mention all of the other non-fencing ways to exercise that can be beneficial for the body and the mind.

However cross training too much for the sake of cross training itself just doesn’t work, and it shouldn’t be a focus of fencing training anyway. You’re not a runner, or a swimmer, or a yogi, you’re a fencer!

Better fencer’s resolution:

I resolve to incorporate more conditioning into my regular training routine.

Keep your cross training short and focused so that you can do it well and consistently. Later on when consistent conditioning becomes to be part of your standard training routine, adding more and more elements of cross training will be easier and more natural.

2. I resolve to spend twice as much time at the fencing club.

Oftentimes we fencers are ambitious and we want to dive head first into doing the sport. We want to go faster, go harder, do it all at once! It would be nice if we could just snap our fingers and change our fencing training overnight into what we want it to be, but sweeping changes are generally not the best if they are forced.

Better fencer’s resolution:

I will attend two fencing camps or clinics this year.

This hits on the same thing as the previous resolution, but it’s completely manageable. Unless you’ve taken advantage of them in the past, you might not realize the huge boost to your fencing that a camp or a clinic can make. There’s something about the concentration of these types of practice that refreshes our passion for fencing and gives a boost to our fencing skills. They can often be better for you than simply taking more classes.

3. I resolve to eat clean all day, every day.

You can’t change your habits overnight, that’s a recipe for failure. The diet as a New Year’s resolution is the biggest joke every year for a reason! A healthy diet is absolutely, definitely a good thing for a fencer to take on. However you will just give yourself more trouble if you try to do this on New Years in this huge way. You are used to eating certain things, and your mind and body will rebel if you totally change it all at once! That doesn’t mean you should give up improving your diet to improve your fencing in the new year though.

Better fencer’s resolution:

I resolve to cut X out of my diet Monday-Saturday.

X might be soda, a crummy breakfast, or sweets. But give yourself one day a week that you can have these things in moderation,  or else it’s not sustainable!

4. I resolve to have my weapons work every time, all the time.

Wouldn’t it be great if our fencing weapons never, ever malfunctioned? That would be a huge weight off the shoulders of every single fencer I know! But realistically, that’s just not how thing work. As much as we might like for it to be the case! Even if you check your weapon again and again, at some point in the next year it will malfunction at a time that you’d rather it didn’t, and that’s just not something you can control.

Better fencer’s resolution:

I resolve to check my weapons every time before training and competition and maintain them properly. I also resolve to always have a few backup weapons and cords in my fencing bag and to keep a repair toolkit.

See how these are things that you can control? They hit the same note that the resolution wants to, but instead of putting the focus on making a fallible piece of equipment work, they put the focus on being prepared for that time when you know it won’t.

5. I resolve to place better in every competition.

The bottom line here is that you don’t have total control over your fencing matches, after all there is another person on the strip. It’s simply unrealistic, and so you’re absolutely going to fail. Outcome oriented goals like this one are not helpful to anyone. Instead, you need to have a goal that focuses on what you can control, which is your piece in the process.

Better fencer’s resolution:

I resolve to improve with every match and track those improvements.

In every single fencing match you can do better than you did in the last one, that’s a fact. See how this goal is all about what you can do? The last section is really pushing it to the next level, because making a note of what you worked will allow you to see that you’re keeping this resolution. This is where something like a fencing journal comes in handy!

Fencers are motivated human beings with all of the best intentions. That’s a good thing! Sometimes though we need to give ourselves a little bit of slack and not try to jump over the moon all at once.

This year, aim to take on huge goals that you know you can support, and then laugh at yourself a bit when you don’t quite hit the mark on the smaller ones. Keep in mind that it is always, ALWAYS about being balanced in the face of all the big things you have to tackle. Stretch yourself, but keep it real and fun in the new year!


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1 Comment

  1. Michael Houst

    1. I resolve to take a walk at lunchtime whenever possible (weather and work permitting.) Need this to clear my head during work anyway, not just for the exercise and added couple hundred calories burned.

    2. I resolve to try to make it to the club twice a week. Doable.

    3. I resolve to eat on program at least 5 days a week. Depriving yourself of all treats is just begging you to binge when you fall off the wagon. Better to program the slack into the system.

    4. How about I resolve to check all my weapons once a week during the season?

    5. I’m going to pull up the motto from Cub Scouts. I resolve to do my best at every competition.

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