Academy of Fencing Masters Blog

Art of Fencing, Art of Life

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How to make a ball on a string (for fencing drills) in four easy steps

Ball on a string - moving target for fencing drills

By Imme Kaschner

Hi Igor & Team

Thank you for your inspiring work!

We (my 10 year old daughter and I) are members at VRI Fencing, Melbourne, Australia (the club focuses on mainly on epee). We had our first online session for the junior squad today. Life in lockdown is suddenly looking much better!

I had totally underestimated the utility of this “cat toy” (=ball on a string) for fencing training. I put together this easy DIY tutorial after being asked by our head coach to get one, and deciding that it was easier (and in keeping with social isolation recommendations) to make our own. Not rocket science, but if this post encourages a few people to see the fun of training at home and understanding that really if their have their gear, that’s all they need, it is totally worth it.

Please feel free to share/publicise this for others to use!

Thanks, Imme (Kaschner) 

Instructions

How to make a ball on a string (for fencing drills) in four easy steps

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AFM Online Fencing Training

You can continue to train even when the entire world seems to come to halt. Our first online fencing training today was a real blast – we had more than 160 kids who participated in all classes and their energy, smiles, and joy were really contagious!

Don’t wait – join the movement! #OnlineFencingTraining

Fencing Training in a Pandemic – How Fencers Can Keep in Shape

Fencing Training in a Pandemic - How Fencers Can Keep in Shape

Right now, we’re seeing a major global outbreak of a virus that’s pushing everything to its limits. From large events to universities, the entire globe is being affected by the coronavirus pandemic, and the fencing training wasn’t skipped in this neither.

This isn’t something far away either, it’s right here in our backyards. Everyone is taking additional precautions to slow down and prevent the spread. That unfortunately means pulling back from some fencing activities for a lot of people for an unclear duration.

Here we want to be clear – everyone has the right to respect how they respond to this. We respect the choices that some fencers and their families are making, because you should do whatever makes you feel comfortable when it comes to your health. However, because you are quarantining yourself at home doesn’t mean you have to stop your training. 

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Rock Paper Scissors – How to Think on Your Feet in Fencing

Rock Paper Scissors - How to Think on Your Feet in Fencing

Fencing is chess on the feet, or so they say. Many parents, and many novice fencers, are clueless as to what that means. It’s a conversation that I have with a lot of new parents and new fencers because they don’t really understand the importance of thinking in fencing. It isn’t like other sports, it’s truly a unique venture. With the right thinking, you can outplay opponents who are physically stronger than you are. This aspect isn’t always easy to explain, but my hope is to break it down here in a way that allows you to see the tactical side of fencing, particularly thinking on your feet.

Strategy in Rock Paper Scissors

To make it easier, let’s start with something familiar. Kids everywhere in the world play rock paper scissors. It’s everywhere! To understand the tactical side of fencing, let’s look at it through the lens of this simple game.

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Compassionate Competitors – How Fencers can Fight to Win Both Camaraderie and Points

Compassionate Competitors - How Fencers can Fight to Win Both Camaraderie and Points

Can you train to win in sports while still building positive relationships with your opponents, and be a compassionate competitor?

The answer is a big, bold, YES!

Competitive sports, even at the highest levels, don’t have to mean throwing your opponent under the bus to win. Too often today we see fierce competition devolve into schoolyard bullying or sometimes worse. Not just in sports, but in our wider culture as well. People can feel disconnected from each other anyway, and when you add on top of that a results-oriented mindset, the combination has the potential to become toxic. 

Figuring out how to balance the desire to win on the strip with the importance of being a good sportsman is no easy task, especially with all of the pressure that comes with working towards large competitions. However once fencers develop a mindset of compassionate competition, it’s easy to maintain it! In fact, it feels much better to fence from a place of camaraderie than it does to get on that podium! 

This is where many sports participants get hung up, especially kids who are still working on their emotional development and especially when they have parents or coaches who are pushing them to win at any cost. Driving home to kids that what matters most is the growth that they are experiencing through their training and competition is the path to balance. Being a competitor who is compassionate towards themselves and towards their opponents is a sweet spot.

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