Art of Fencing, Art of Life

Author: Igor Chirashnya Page 2 of 92

The Four Pillars of Success for Fencers

Four pillars of success for fencers

Of all of the questions that I get from parents about their children in fencing, the one that I get the most is:

“Will my child be a successful fencer?”

This question comes up early and often from fencing parents, and it’s understandable that they would want to know whether their child will make it as a fencer. From my point of view, it’s better to pivot the question instead to: 

“What are the necessary ingredients for your child to succeed in fencing?”

There is, unfortunately, no way to tell the future. Not only that, “success” is not something that is so easily defined. For some fencers, that could mean that they compete regionally or nationally, for others it could mean that they get a college fencing scholarship, and yet for others, it means they won a World Cup. Every child (and adult) can and should make fencing goals that are attainable. Technically, there is no such thing as a fencer who is incapable of achieving success if you understand where you start and where you want to go. 

Why is the First Place Winner Presented with a Cup in Sports?

USA Team #1 - Wonners of Cadet World Cup in Women's Epee in European Cadet Circuit in Belgrade, Serbia, October 22, 2022

Often in sports, the first place winner is presented with a big, shiny trophy in the shape of a hollowed out bowl that is stamped with various words and symbols. Medals are prevalent too, most notably at the Olympic Games, but cups are easily the second most recognizable kind of award for sporting achievement.

At the top of professional sports, we see the huge Stanley Cup in hockey (which is over three feet tall), the men’s Wimbledon Championship Trophy (the women get an ornamental plate), and the FIFA World Cup (this cup has a globe inside it and the design is based on the original traditional version of the cup). In most cases with cups, the winner of the tournament doesn’t get to keep it. That includes all three of those listed above, which all engrave the name of the team on the cup. Instead, sometimes the team or winner will get a replica, which is what happens with FIFA.

In American fencing, we have the North America Cup (NAC) competitions, which in its current setup does not offer any trophy, maybe there was one many years ago. There’s also the Fencing World Cup, which offers a trophy shaped like a cup and is one of the top international fencing competitions. 

It’s an interesting phenomenon in the world of sports when you think about it. What are these cups for? Is anyone actually drinking out of them? How did this tradition get started in the first place?

How to Put Your Name on a Fencing Jacket

How to Put Your Name on a Fencing Jacket

One of the major milestones that a fencer takes comes when they get their name put on their jacket. This is a mark showing that they are not only committed to fencing, but that they are invested in competition to a level of showing the world that they are here for the long haul. Of course, having a jacket stenciled with your name is a requirement for competing in every USA Fencing national-level event, such as NAC’s (North America Cup), July Challenge, or National Championships. 

It’s more than just a requirement, though – getting a name on a jacket is also an initiation of sorts. Youth fencers feel a real sense of pride when they get their name put on their jackets. It’s also a big step for adult fencers, who feel that same rush of pride! There is something magical about the dark letters on the white jacket. Many fencers choose to get their name on their jacket as they get close to that level of competition in order to mentally psych themselves into improving. 

There is, however, a cold hard practicality to putting the name on the jacket. To dive deep into what that can look like, let’s go through the requirements as well as the possible ways to meet them. 

What are USA Fencing Divisions 1, 1A, 2 and 3

What are USA Fencing Divisions 1, 1A, 2 and 3

For the most part, fencing categories are easily identifiable and distinguishable. It’s clear from the name what they are and what groups comprise their ranks. 

Youth categories are labeled with age-specific titles – Y8 through Y14 are clearly moving up through specific ages. It’s right there in the title. Veterans are mature fencers, which again makes sense because a veteran indicates someone who has been around for a long time. Cadet, Junior, and Senior all sound like military ranks as well, and they all give the idea of someone who is training or coming of age in the sport. 

Where it’s easy to get confused when we move to the divisional categories. This is all the more confusing because there are also divisional competitions within the structure of qualification for the Junior Olympics and Fencing Summer Nationals. Those competitions aren’t related to Divisions 1, 1A, 2, and 3, but rather they just share a name. There are many, many divisional competitions that cover a specific region or even down to a specific city. These hyper regionally focused tournaments cover a wide range of qualifying event classes, which are often tailored to the kind of fencing that is popular in that particular area.

For Divisions 1, 1A, 2 and 3, participation is actually fairly straightforward. These four categories have their own set of parameters, and they carry a specific weight in the fencing competition circuit. Like other fencing categories, they are separated by age, but there are other extraordinary things about the divisional level of competition. It’s not just another place that fencers progress to when they have a birthday!

Qualification Update: 2023 Fencing Summer Nationals

Qualification Update: 2023 Fencing Summer Nationals

We’re already in the thick of the 2022-23 fencing season, and that means it’s time to start thinking about those long-term goals surrounding Fencing Summer Nationals next year.

This year, there are more opportunities than ever to qualify for the tournament, and with all of these potential ways to compete, we want to be sure that everyone is well prepared for reaching their potential. 

Where competitions are held

There’s been a lot of discussion online about the way that the tournament season was structured, particularly in regards to the geographic distribution of the tournaments around the country. Where and when major tournaments take place can have a significant impact on who can attend, which then has far reaching ramifications for how qualification plays out for individuals. For many fencers, the placement of national tournaments this season means that they’ll have to rethink what they’d like to attend to qualify. 

We wrote an in-depth piece about this when it was announced over the summer, and you can get all of the details there. 

The placement of national tournaments could be a challenge for those fencers who are accustomed to qualifying in a certain way. They might be frustrated that travel expenses are difficult to overcome, thanks to where those national tournaments are now. Rather than looking at this as a hindrance, fencers can view this as an opportunity to travel more or to challenge themselves to go the divisional or regional level to get the all way to the top.

Now the big question is – how do fencers qualify for Fencing Summer Nationals? Here’s what you need to know.

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