Art of Fencing, Art of Life

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How to Find Fencing Bouts to Watch Online

How to find Fencing Bouts to Watch Online

The sport of fencing continues to grow, and the good news is that means there are more and more ways to watch fencing bouts online. 

In the last few years, there has been an increase in high quality videos of competitions especially on both stand alone websites and social media platforms. In the last several years, these channels have uploaded thousands of bout recordings and other fencing videos that have become a huge resource for athletes looking to study film and hone their craft. 

It should be noted that the best way for fencers to learn about the sport is through in-person training with respected coaches and accredited organizations. Nothing replaces the personal touch of having a coach give you instructions on what to do and how to do it. While watching footage of bouts is no substitute for participating in them, studying film from these events is an opportunity to learn from and about opponents, Olympic athletes, and even yourself.

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?

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!

Getting Out-fenced Doesn’t Mean You’re a Bad Fencer

Getting Out-fenced Doesn't Mean You're a Bad Fencer
sad puppy on the street

When a fencer loses a match, one of the most natural things to do is to start looking for a reason why they lost. 

  • What if my lunges had been longer?
  • What if I had controlled the distance more effectively?
  • What if I were more focused during the match?
  • What if I had cross trained better?

These are pretty standard questions that fencers ask themselves, but they aren’t the only things that roll around in the minds of athletes when they lose. The big question, the elephant in the room, is this one:

What if I’m just a bad fencer?

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