Academy of Fencing Masters Blog

Art of Fencing, Art of Life

Author: Igor Chirashnya Page 1 of 61

Mask during exercise – Right or Wrong?

Face mask or face covering during exercise

There are many people asking the important question of whether to mask during exercise or not. It’s a valid question, because once again we are in uncharted territory in this new era of coronavirus.

There are articles and advice on the subject all over the internet. It’s an important subject, and it’s one that there are not clear answers to just yet. There is still good information out there. 

Our take, which is still yet to be tested, is below. We aren’t experts in this subject. We have seen many other fencing clubs start to do lessons with masks, and we’ve talked to many club owners. Masks are also what we require. It’s an evolving topic! We expect it to continue to be an evolving topic. 

The science indicates that if everyone wears a mask, it will drastically reduce the spread of the virus. We all want to reopen, and wearing a mask is the path to reopening as safely as possible. Wearing a mask is not mainly about protecting your health, it’s mainly about protecting the health of others. Since people without symptoms can be active spreaders of the virus, wearing a mask prevents you from breathing the virus into the air if you are asymptomatic. If you have any symptoms, please stay home!

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World Champion Epee Fencer Gergely Siklosi’s Wise-Beyond-his-Years Advice on Mentorship and Winning

2019 Men's Epee World Champion Gergely Siklosi (Gergo Siklosi)

There is an old idea that some people are old souls trapped in young bodies. Gergely Siklosi definitely falls into that category.

At the mind blowing age of twenty-one, he won the World Championships in epee last year in Budapest. Senior Men’s Epee Fencing is not a sport of youth, not at this level, and Siklosi shows an understanding of the sport that is well beyond his years. His view of what it means to be an athlete, how fencers should train, and what it is important to focus on will take you by surprise. It definitely took us by surprise.

What you’ll find in this interview is a young man who has a firm handle on what it means to push yourself in a balanced way. He uses innovative training techniques that are accessible to every fencer, and his reasons for using them are sound. They obviously are effective!

We don’t know what the future holds for Siklosi, except to say that this is just the beginning for this bright and powerful fencer from the tiny town of Tapolca in Hungary. Whatever happens for the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, we can assure you that you have only just begun to hear about this tremendous young fencer.

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Guide to In-Person, Social Distanced Fencing Training

Guide to In-Person, Social Distanced Fencing Training

Things are starting to open back up from the long shutdown to in-person activities, but only a little bit and very cautiously. Make no mistake – the coronavirus is not gone. It is very much still here. In fact, the numbers are not great for anyone who is looking at them. 

What has changed is that we have a better understanding of how to prevent the spread of the disease. There are things that we know we can and should be doing, steps that make it safe enough to reopen some fencing schools in a limited capacity. Training does not look anything like it did. The swords are the same. The coaches are the same. The clubs themselves are the same. What’s different is how we are acting.

In-person fencing training has to be different now. It’s necessary. This is not just wearing a mask (though that’s part of it), it’s also changing the methods that we use to teach fencing. The core of what we’re doing will stay the same, but the trappings will be different. Necessarily so. 

COVID-19 in-person fencing training regimen

We’ve outlined here a fencing regimen to help guide clubs and coaches, as well as to inform fencers about what to expect for in-person training during this time. Please keep in mind that we are not experts in coronavirus. These are based on our own experience, thinking and on the guidelines set out by healthcare authorities

What we are being told again and again is that this is a respiratory virus that is spread through droplets that come from the mouth and the nose. Everything that we are doing is targeted to minimize those droplets and their spread from one person to another. 

This regimen is broken down into eight parts. Notice the consistent themes and adapt these ideas to your own needs and per guidelines from your local health authorities!

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12 Disadvantages of Fencing

12 disadvantages of fencing

Nothing is perfect. As much as we love fencing, there are downsides and disadvantages to everything in life. Sure, we’d like to believe that fencing is the most worthwhile and amazing sport among all other sports, but we all know that it’s not perfect.

Now, we know what you’re thinking. This is not a real question on a fencing blog! It can’t be, can it?

Actually, this is a valid question. Nothing in life only has advantages, and something that is an advantage to one person does not necessarily mean that it will be an advantage to another person. Everyone’s situation is different. Their goals, their aspirations, their means, and their surroundings. In order to understand whether fencing is good for yourself or for your child, it is good to have a general idea of what the pros and cons of fencing are. Generally speaking of course. 

Note that what follows might be surprising for you to read if you are already a fencer. No sugarcoating from us! Take a deep breath, and keep reading with bravery. 

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Graduates of 2020 – Fencing and the World

Graduates of 2020

There is a new reality, one that the graduates of 2020 will step out into. It’s not like anything that has come before, a world of shifting paradigms and social upheaval. The crises swirling all around our young people will require adaptation like nothing before, in areas from learning to working to socializing. 

Our young fencers have found themselves in a world that changed dramatically just as they were starting to celebrate their long journey through school and into adulthood. The carpet has been pulled out from under them. It gives new meaning to the phrase “think on your feet”, because these graduates don’t know what college will look like in the fall, or what condition the world will be in when and if they step foot on campus. 

There is the strangeness of the new normal that coronavirus has brought to our world. Fear and insecurity. There is a generational change that we can see happening right now, in the streets all over America. This generation of graduates is the first since the murder of Martin Luther King Jr. In 1968 to feel the full weight of racial injustice

It’s a lot. These young people are extraordinary though. They have inherited a troubled world, there is no doubt of that. They are capable of meeting it with grace and strength. There is no doubt of that either. 

Adaptation is a learned skill

How do we learn to adapt to new things? Adaptation is a skill that is best developed over the course of many years, and fencers do a good job of developing that skill in their training and through competition. We have seen our fencers learn and grow in their training. This skill of adaptability is the simple most important skill for them to have right now in this world that is changing so drastically for them. 

We’ve had the privilege to talk with all of our graduates and their families, to hear about how their experience at AFM has changed them. The change has come through making new friendships, developing mentor relationships with coaches, and learning how to think quickly and solve problems. Fencing has helped our graduates to be more self assured and confident. This sport teaches how to set goals and pursue them, even in difficult times. 

I feel that through the values of equality, inclusion, respect, and camaraderie that they have learned in part through fencing, they are ready to lead us into the next chapter. Make no mistake – it is these young people who will be the leaders of the future. They are the ones who will show us the way, not the reverse. It is humbling to see this transformation that our graduates have experienced. 

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