When it comes to fencing, unfortunately there are very few quality resources online. We’d love to see more fencing blogs or YouTube dedicated fencing channels for people to read and learn about fencing. But fencing is a very niche sport, so most people have a very limited knowledge about it and there are definitely a lot of wrong assumptions among those who aren’t a part of the community.
Most of the knowledge of our sport in the general public comes from movies and books, like Pirates of Caribbean, the Princess Bride, and Star Wars. I think it’s pretty safe to assume that nearly every child has at least once during their childhood picked up a plastic sword or even just a stick in the backyard and played at sword fighting with their friends or siblings. But when it comes to education about the sport of fencing, it seems that many beginners and their parents know very little.
This is kind of sad when you think about it – apparently fencing professionals are not that sharp with their pens as they are with their foils (pun intended). So when a new fencing blog is created, a lot of fencing enthusiasts flock to it.
To help you find some of what’s great out there in the wild world of the internet, I’ve compiled a list of the best fencing blogs to watch in 2017. These aren’t ranked in any order, as they are so different and generally cover aspects of our sport that don’t overlap. My hope is that reading these blogs will help you learn more about our great sport, to explore the different aspects of it that you might be unfamiliar with, and to share your love and enthusiasm with others.
Better Fencer is a blog that is perhaps the most comprehensive fencing blog we’ve found. It’s managed by Olympic Silver Medalist Jason Rogers (Beijing 2008, Men’s Sabre Team). Jason publishes about 2-3 articles each month, and we’ve found that every one is a fantastic treasure for fencer of any level, or for their parents. Being an elite, world class athlete, Jason knows first hand what does it take to have a dream and work hard towards making it a reality.
His in-depth articles touch on many of the important aspects that are necessary for growth in fencing – training, motivational and mental preparation, injury prevention, tactical aspects of the game and parental support. From where I sit, it is one of the top in-depth fencing blogs out there. It should be on everyone’s reading list. If you haven’t yet signed up to get Better Fencer blog in your inbox, click over to this site and do it now! Jason’s email list is a wonderful way to stay in touch with his blog and keep from missing any of the important information he shares. Every time you get Jason’s article in your inbox, you will grow at least a little as a fencer.
Ross Woods, father of one of the top cadet and junior foil fencers Jack Woods, manages this independent organization, National Fencing Club Rankings, that puts into its mission to measure fencing in every aspect of it, like other mainstream sports. The NFCR develops a set of tools that will be able to provide a lot of insight into fencing, clubs, division, athletes and hopefully their tools will become mainstream in our field as well. They are on the good path.
The National Fencing Club Ranking also maintains a very helpful blog that focuses on every numerical aspect of our sport. You would be surprised how much one can learn from looking at the numbers that NFCR put – you can learn trends in different areas of the country, look at the historical performance of the different groups of athletes in different categories on national and international level and more. They say data is the king, and NFCR clearly shows who rules the numbers game. Very interesting and educating blog to follow .
We Love Fencing is a website run by real fencing aficionados. Their major focus is the international level of fencing competition – World Cups, Grand Prix, World Fencing Championships and of course the Olympic Games. They a provide one stop shop for gaining a greater understanding about these competitions – starting with links to live results but then going deep into the analysis of the competition both before it starts and then all the way through to the aftermath. It’s really just an invaluable resource.
My ritual before any big international competition weekend is to go to their website and learn more about that particular upcoming competition. They also have a We Love Fencing Facebook page, so click on over and like it! You’ll then be able to get all the news delivered right into your newsfeed. So now you have no excuse to say that there is a World Cup going on and you somehow have no knowledge of it 🙂
The Fencing Referees Commission Blog is a rare treat in this fencing blogosphere. Devin Donnelly, our local Bay Area referee, publishes very good insights into the interpretation of different fencing rules. As many of you know, fencing is a subjective sport – the outcome of any action is subject to the individual interpretation of the referee.
Devin’s blog explains what referees should look in the action, why and how they should interpret different controversial actions. Given that reality that fencing rules are constantly changing (for example, the most recent rule that changed had to do with the reverse shoulder in foil) and thus this rule change affects other rules and interpretations. Devin provides great explanations to guide the way that different situations should be sorted out on the strip. Truth be told – this blog is not for the beginners, but is definitely catering to more advanced fencers. If you’ve been at this for a while, then you definitely should bookmark it and learn how your actions will be viewed by referees. If you’re new to fencing, bookmark it anyway so that you can come back to hit when you’ve got more questions and a deeper insight into the issues that could possibly arise.
This aspect of fencing is definitely a thing that is worth learning to understood.
The Nazlymov Fencing Blog was started by the Vitaly Nazlymov, the son on world famous fencer Vladimir Nazlymov – 3 time Olympic Champion and the head coach of the fencing team at Ohio State University.
This blog initially started off as a guide to his father’s fencing coaching, but it rapidly became one of the most admired fencing resources on Facebook because of the original training material that Vitaly published there. It’s become an invaluable resource. The only problem that I have with this resource is that it is published only on Facebook and thus there is very little control over it. Unfortunately lately the posts have also become infrequent. But when something new is there – it is really great material! Definitely worth liking and then following on Facebook!
6. Fencing Governing Bodies
FIE Media News is not a fencing blog per se, but mostly a news outlet for the international fencing governing body. Here you’re not going to find detailed educational material for newbies, but nonetheless this is a great resource for what’s going on in the biggest international fencing arenas. The content is wonderfully informative, for both new fencers and experienced fencers.
Similar to FIE, US Fencing uses its platform to promote national fencing news relevant to American fencing community. While there is a page on the USFA site called “Blog”, in reality the blog does not really exist in any current form whatsoever, and they publish a new material once in a decade. However, the news section is a living outlet and you will find within its pages a lot of important information, happenings, and relevant news for the domestic fencing scene. This is a perfect spot for beginners to start learning the rhythm of the fencing season. Sometimes what you really need to get oriented is to see the season unfold, and USFA News can give you that direction with some well written and very informative content!
Other Fencing Blogs
Of course the list of fencing blogs doesn’t really stop here, even though we’re stopping our coverage here. There are few more fencing blogs available online that are fantastic, but I decided to focus this post on those that I’m currently enjoying the most and that I follow consistently.
Of course, the online world is very dynamic! Help me keep up by sharing in the comments below any new fencing blog that you’ve found out there in the wilds online. You’ll not only be helping me out, but you’ll also be helping out a lot of other people who need guidance and help with their fencing. Blogs really can help fill in those gaps and deepen our knowledge of the sport!