Academy of Fencing Masters Blog

Art of Fencing, Art of Life

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Fencing in Rural America

Fencing in Rural America

Traditionally, fencing is a sport that has been niche for many reasons, not the least of which is that fencing clubs are not easy to come by. For people who live in rural America, fencing is often totally inaccessible because they don’t live close enough to a place to learn it. 

For our sport, this is an incredibly important subject. We want more fencers so that we can have more competitors, and also because we love the sport and want to share it. It’s a shame that distance is such a barrier, but for those who live outside of urban areas, especially in rural America, it’s a huge issue. How many potentially amazing fencers are there out there who will never make it to the strip because there is not a club nearby?

For many fencers, this isn’t something that they even consider. They think about their own sport, what their ranking is, where their next competition will be, and in the times of the pandemic they are understandably concerned about their own training. However, this is still a subject that is worth considering. We want our sport to thrive, and so that means thinking globally. Sometimes the biggest opportunities are in the most unlikely places. 

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10 Ways to Smooth the Parent/Coach Relationship in Fencing

10 Ways to Smooth the Parent/Coach Relationship in Fencing

In fencing, the fencer is the priority, but young fencers are necessarily supported by their parents and their coaches. Both of these stakeholders have an important role in facilitating the growth and development of fencers, but what happens when they don’t get along, their relationship deteriorates, or when they have different ideas about what is best? How about when a fencer pushes back against their coach?

These relationships are complex. It is challenging to keep the momentum going in a positive way, or to change course when things need to change. There are differences in opinions, and this is normal. Issues that develop here can turn into insurmountable obstacles that push fencers to quit the sport altogether, and no one wants to see that. 

The truth is that parents don’t always know what to do when conflict comes up. Our first reaction might be to step in because that feels like advocating for your child. All parents have that instinct to protect their kids. It’s a good instinct, but sometimes it can get in the way of what’s best for kids as they get older and need independence. Navigating that line is one of the toughest things for parents to figure out how to do and it is never an easy task to find the right balance. 

How can parents and coaches work together more effectively for the benefit of fencers? Here are ten ways to smooth the relationship between fencing parents and fencing coaches. 

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Why Size DOESN’T Matter in Fencing

Why Size DOESN’T Matter in Fencing

A common question from parents in regards to fencing is whether the size of their child matters. This is one question with a quick answer: It doesn’t.

It does not matter if a child, or even an adult, fencer is much shorter or much taller than their opponent. The nature of fencing is such that you can be successful whether you are small in stature or whether you are large in stature. There are advantages and disadvantages to either one, and they are evenly split. No matter your level.

Size doesn’t matter!

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Should Fencers Go to Competitions Right Now?

Should Fencers Go to Competitions Right Now?

October is here, and with it is coming the start of regional fencing competitions for the first time since the pandemic swept across the country more than a half a year ago. 

You can only compete in your specific region right now, not as before when fencers could travel to different regions to earn points or ratings in different ways.  Each region is its own situation, with a status that is different. It’s also true that each of us has an obligation to the people around us. Who is in your circle, who you are bubbling with. This makes a big difference for what you are comfortable with and what you are willing to do. 

People ask us what we would suggest. It’s a difficult decision for many, many people. What is my perspective on it? I think that the time is not right for traveling to competitions.

I can only vouch for my very personal perspective. You must apply your own judgement to competition. What follows are what I feel comfortable with for my family and what I suggest to the fencers in our club, but know that your personal decisions on this issue are respected. 

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7 Ways to Help Kids Balance Sports and Academics in the Time of COVID

7 Ways to Help Kids Balance Sports and Academics in the Time of COVID

There has always been a careful balance between school and sports, but now the facets of this challenge have changed completely. Not only is school and sport totally different than it has been before, there is also the added struggle of navigating a crisis. Everyone is stressed in ways that they have never been stressed before. 

We must all keep moving forward, so how does that work for fencers who also have academic obligations during the time of COVID? School and sport have not stopped, then have just changed. Everyone must find a workable balance between their interests and their education. This is not something that we can teach all in one fell swoop, but there is also a pressing immediacy to this issue right now. We have to give all of the tools we can to our kids. 

Parents, we know that you are stretched right now too. Juggling working and distance learning for kids, well it is exhausting. I know this firsthand with trying to balance every aspect of my own family life. Hopefully this post will help some of you to feel less alone while providing practical solutions.

Here are seven ways to help kids balance fencing and academics during the time of coronavirus.

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