Has your fencing turned into a chore?
Do you miss that spark that you used to feel when you first picked up your sword?
Do you wish that you could feel all of those fluttery, festive feelings that you once felt about your fencing?
You can! That sparkle can come back to your swordplay. Bringing the joy back to your fencing isn’t just about having fun though. The more invested in and excited about fencing that you are, the more focus you’ll have and the better you’ll train overall. Keeping your fencing on point is just as much about your enjoyment of the sport as it is about the number of hours you’re able to force yourself into grueling training.
The most accomplished athletes are those athletes who get the most pleasure out of their sport. More joy = better fencing.
1. Revisit your old fencing gear
Nostalgia is a powerful thing. If you’ve been fencing for a while, then you’ve surely got some beloved gear tucked away. Got dig it out! Put your hands on that old jacket or lame, that old mask or sabre. How much have your hands changed since that first fencing glove slipped over your fingers?
If the shine has gone out of your fencing, you can often bring it back simply by digging out some old gear and reviving those memories. They’re still there!
2. Connect with fencing teammates
When was the last time you had ice cream with your fellow foilists? Or your epee friends? Camaraderie is such good stuff for athletes. Everyone goes through these times – EVERYONE! Going out and talking things out with your fellow fencers, laughing about your struggles, can bring so much joy back to your fencing.
3. Mentor a new fencer
Want that spark back in your fencing? Just borrow some joy from some younger fencers. Young fencers are brimming with possibility and exuding joy. When you spend time with them, you’ll find that you quickly pick up on their energy. And it won’t just stick around while you’re fencing with those young fencers – that joy will stay with you well beyond.
Mentoring young fencers is hugely rewarding. It brings a glow to your smile! Not only that, it helps you to love the sport that much more.
4. Check in with your fencing coach
If you’re feeling that you just don’t enjoy fencing anymore, then it’s probably a good time to talk to your coach about it. Your fencing coach has spent years tackling the same kinds of issues that you have, and trust us when we say that they’ve been exactly where you are. Your coach knows you well and can help you to find some new ways to incorporate joy into your fencing.
5. Watch a fencing movie
There are lots of fantastic fencing movies out there. From the Princess Bride to the Three Musketeers, these are movies that bring fun and folly to fencing. One of the best things that you can do for yourself as you work on your fencing is to find some inspiration. What we love about fencing is that it’s a fantastic way for us to connect with something that’s totally outside of the rest of society. It’s unique! It’s unusual! It’s remarkable. Remind yourself of the joy and fun of fencing while you connect with the sport through film.
6. Check out some fencing bloopers
Laughter is often the best medicine. Google “fencing bloopers” and you’ll get tons of videos of fencers doing some pretty silly things on the strip! From clothing malfunctions to weird fencing moves, some fencing bloopers can really make you laugh at yourself and at the sport again. After all, part of what we love about fencing is being lighthearted about it!
7. Make a list of what you love about fencing
If you’re struggling to find what you love about the sport now that you’ve been a fencer for a while, try writing it down! Here are some ideas for lists to make about fencing that will help you to pinpoint what you loved about it so much in the first place.
- List your five favorite moments in your fencing career
- List your favorite training exercises
- Write down ten things you’ve learned about yourself through fencing
- List five times you laughed out loud during fencing
- Write down seven things you’re grateful for from fencing
- Write down five thoughts you had when you first picked up a sword
These are just a few ideas!
8. Smile to yourself under your fencing mask
Did you know that smiling actually makes us happier? You don’t even have to be really happy for this to work. It’s a fake-it-till-you-make-it kind of thing. Force a smile under your mask as you’re fencing – a big goofy grin. This simple act will actually activate the happy parts of your brain and make you happier! IT sounds a little strange, but it’s worth a try. When you smile to yourself, you’ll find that you feel better immediately and that your stress level starts to go down.
9. Take the pressure off yourself
One of the hands down best ways to bring joy back into fencing is to take the pressure off yourself. You don’t have to be perfect. You don’t have to win every match. Fencing isn’t about the medals or the trophies or the places on the podium – it’s about your own personal growth. If you had a tough season or if you feel like the coming competition season is overwhelming, just step back and let go of the stress you’re putting on yourself. This is another great piece to talk to your coach about. Fencing shouldn’t cause you stress – it should bring you joy. Sometimes you have to allow that to happen!
If you’ve been training non-stop for a while and you just don’t know why you ever picked up a sword to begin with, then now is the time to do something about it! You’ve invested so much into your fencing, don’t let a slump pull your focus out from under you!
Fencing is already a joyful sport, but everything can get stale after all of the hours of practice. What have you got to lose? Try these joyful techniques and get your fencing sparkle back.