fencers make the best employeesThere’s a whole set of skills that student athletes learn that help them to be successful in the workplace . But fencing offers even more amazing skill development than the already wonderful set that athletics in general provides.

The world of business is a challenge for many young people to become accustomed to once they’re done with school. The school environment certainly helps kids to learn some valuable abilities that will help them to navigate the workplace, but fencing gives them a real edge that makes them amazing employees. Being a great employees is a key to success in life, and it’s important to remember that while kids will spend years in the schoolhouse, they’ll spend decades in the workforce. We tend to place a great deal of emphasis on helping kids to find success in the classroom, often forgetting how important it is to give them skills to be successful on the job.

The great news is that fencing really fosters the growth of the qualities that are most highly needed in the workplace! Check out our previous post about student athletes – because fencers possess all of the qualities in addition to the ones you find here.

Here are seven reasons that student fencers make the best employees.

1.  Ability to Analyze

In fencing, each bout starts with the unknown. Fencers have to quickly discover the weaknesses of their opponent while at the same time playing to their own strength. They need to find a way to look at each individual opponent and decipher his/her intentions, then set their own traps in order to ensnare their opponent and gain points. This is a great thing to have in that skill chest! So much of workplace dynamic and performance are based on the ability to accurately analyze situations, a skill that fencers learn to hone and improve more than almost any other sport.

2.  Strategic and Tactical Thinking

Of all sports, fencing is among the most strategic and tactical. This skill is huge in life in general and in the workplace in particular. One way we can see this is by the data from the USFA All-Academic Team. These are fantastic students and fencing as a sport is very much a niche and has quite a big percentage of excellent students. This proves the ability of fencers to excel not only in sport but also in their academics which is a huge factor in the workplace. The reason behind that success is strategic thinking, allowing fencers to see all sides of an issue, from crunching numbers to understanding complex tasks.

3.  Competitiveness

Unlike other martial arts, there are no weight categories in fencing, so David and Goliath situations happen all of the time.  In business, it’s essential to know how to navigate these kinds of situations. Knowing how to stand up and take on Goliath, or as they say in a business, the “800 pound gorilla companies”, means that a person is not afraid, that they know how to use their disadvantages as an advantage, how to be agile, creative and fast. What better traits one can wish in their employees if you are a startup trying to take on the world of Google? For those who find themselves in the position of Goliath, they know that size does not always matter. They learn that regardless of any initial advantage, it’s essential to be alert, to be able to fight these fast changing, agile and fearless “Davids”. Again – a huge thing for employees and something that fencers learn in spades.

4.  Split Second Decision Making

How do you know what to do when there’s a crisis? Fencers learn early to make split second decisions when they adrenaline is pumping. Part of what sets fencing apart from other sports is that fencers are holding a weapon – that’s no small thing! Fencing offers a safe environment for young people to learn to face their fears and to choose wisely when faced with a variety of options. Then when there’s a crisis on the job, be it a missed deadline or an unexpected intrusion, they aren’t overcome by their emotions and can think on their feet. Fencing is the fastest thinking sport out there – a wrong decision can be fatal. This ability is exceptional in fencers!

5.  Self Esteem

Again, this is probably true for every athlete, but especially for fencing. We often find that kids who did not succeed in any other sport come to fencing to find their sport, and then we see that their self esteem starts growing. They learn how to succeed, they learn how to overcome their own fears, they learn that they can do anything. They develop this attitude and it becomes part of their life approach, I can do it. High self esteem equals confidence in yourself, which lead to employees who are ready to keep going when the going gets tough. A big reason that fencing builds self esteem differently is because of that sword – just picking it up provides a person with a confidence boost that then carries over into stronger self esteem.

6.  Humility

Fencers are humble. As very niche sport fencing stars are rarely known to the outside world. It’s a pity but it’s a fact. Being a star and keeping it humble down to the earth is a great trait for a person to have, and an important one for the workplace. Fencers do not raise their nose above everybody and do not create a primadonna atmosphere for others, they positively affect the team culture and atmosphere around them. The culture of fencing is one that seeks to raise everyone up to a higher level rather than pushing people down, and it’s one that translates beautifully into the workplace.

7.  Hard Work

This is really true for every sport, but fencers know how to work hard in ways that are amazing even among other sports. Athletes know how to push the boundaries, how to push themselves, how to go further than they knew was ever possible. Learning that you can do things that you didn’t know you could is an essential part of the fencing experience! In particular, fencers learn that with dedication they can push their bodies through hard work to master forms and opponents that they didn’t even know were an option. In the real world, in the business world, that kind of hard work is often necessary in order to take life to the next level or even just to stay in business.

Fencing is a gateway to so many things in life, and one of those things is success in the workplace. When fencers leave the club, they go out into the world better prepared to be successful on the job, which is great for everyone.