“Can I train my child for fencing at home?” We hear this question from passionate parents quite often. In soccer, baseball, and basketball, it is quite common to see parents playing with their kids in parks and helping their children develop sport-specific skills.
So, our parents often ask us how they can help their children to develop fencing-related skills. Some even want to purchase targets and have their children practice target work every day. We are usually very hesitant to suggest any fencing-related home exercises for a new fencer with a non-fencing parent. We believe that without proper supervision it is easy to develop bad habits and incorrect form, which might require a long and painful process to undo. Instead we suggest focusing on general cross training, such as running, swimming, jump rope exercises, and others (more on this in follow-up posts).
However, in this post we would love to show you several good exercises that are easy to supervise, fun, and helpful, and can be done in a non-fencing club environment.
During one of his clinics at the Academy of Fencing Masters, five-time Olympian and US Fencing Hall of Fame member Michael Marx demonstrated a bunch of exercises that can be easily incorporated into fencing lessons in any fencing club or program, and we recorded them on video. These exercises are simple and quite straightforward, and the videos provide enough direction on how to execute them. Moreover, these exercises (under proper supervision, of course!) can be led by parents that want to help their children develop fencing-related skills.
The exercises that Michael Marx demonstrated develop focus, attention, and reaction speed, skills that are highly necessary in fencing. One of the beautiful things about these exercises is that they do not require a lot of equipment or space to be conducted and could be part of the specialty drills in fencing classes in any fencing club. However, while being extremely valuable to fencers, they have no fencing-specific routine or form that only a trained specialist or fencer could supervise. As these exercises focus on general development and utilize common sense in form and execution, supervising and assisting in them is easy and can be conducted by parents or older siblings in a park or a backyard.
Do these exercises with your fencer(s) routinely and within a short time their fencing game will boost as their reaction speed and ability to make split-second decisions significantly improves.
We suggest that you first watch these videos several times. Michael Marx explains how these exercises should be conducted and the common mistakes that a person makes. First do a simple version of each exercise and once both you and your child are comfortable with the exercise, speed, and distance, start changing some parameter, such as speed of execution.
Watch these simple exercises and share with us your experience.
[If the video does not play in the post, here is YouTube link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Err9Zsaltn0]