Art of Fencing, Art of Life

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Why Fencing Birthday is Different than Regular Birthdays

Why Fencing Birthday is Different than Regular Birthdays

Making sense of fencing age classification is important for all fencers, and it can be a bit of a mind bend initially.

The fencing season runs from August to July, so it runs over two years like a school year. There are both minimum ages for fencing and also maximum ages in fencing categories, so fencers can compete in different categories depending on what a fencer choses to do. A youth fencer can fence in both their age category and in the age category directly above them. There are lots of reasons that you would choose one category over another, but that’s something that you should discuss with your fencing coach as it’s dependent upon your goals

We want to note here that USA Fencing does sometimes change their rules, but age classification has been a constant for a very long time.

Now, on to the meat and potatoes of fencing birthday and classification!

It’s OK if You Didn’t Become a Fencing Master During Quarantine

It’s OK if You Didn’t Become a Fencing Master During Quarantine

It’s ok if you didn’t learn the secrets of the strip when you were quarantined at home. 

It’s ok if you didn’t fence every day when the world was turned upside down. 

It’s ok if you didn’t level up your fencing prowess during lockdown.

It’s ok if you didn’t perfect your parry during a global crisis.

It’s ok if you never once picked up your foil or epee or sabre since March of 2020.

As we come to the other side of lockdown and the start of a new season, there is a lot of pressure on everyone to be some kind of best version of themselves. It’s truly difficult, and it’s an issue that we expect will be even more prominent and challenging in the months to come as the fall and winter offer us new challenges in the pandemic. 

Goal Setting

A guest post by Corwin Duncan.

Goal Setting in Fencing

I saluted my opponent, put on my mask, and got on guard. I listened for the referee’s command to fence, and for just a moment I felt the intense desire to win this bout; this bout I had been waiting for for years, working tirelessly so this one moment I could do my best. I felt that intensity, and then I let it go and focused, and as the referee said ‘fence!’ – I was ready.

It was July 5th 2008, and I was fencing the final of Junior National Championships. That bout was strange for me – every touch seemed to last minutes, but only seconds passed on the clock. Most of the time I made the wrong action, but it seemed like my opponent was moving through molasses, and somehow I could always find a way to land the touch. My mind and my body were more prepared than they had ever been before, and everything flowed together.

One minute and 38 seconds into the bout – just past the first half of the first period – I scored the final touch of the bout, winning 15-1.

It felt amazing to be fencing in the final of national championships, and it felt even better to win. But what I mostly felt in that moment was the culmination of years of preparation. You see, I didn’t just have a good bout, or competition, or season – since I was 15 my goal had been to win Junior National Championships. Every time I took a lesson, fenced a practice bout, or competed, I could connect it to that one goal – and that gave me focus, direction, and motivation.

Fencing History was Made in Tokyo 2020

Fencing history was made in Tokyo 2020 - Italian Women's Foil Team greets their opponents before the match starts
Italian Women’s Foil Team greets their opponents before the match starts

Anyone who either watched the events live or followed the results from Olympic fencing in Tokyo would agree – history was made at Makuhari Messe event hall. These were fascinating Games in general across all sports. There was incredible, real drama at each turn. Decades-old world records were broken. Huge topics that had been hidden beneath the surface of the sport rose to the top. Camaraderie between athletes shown through across countries, with athletes sharing moments of both glory and defeat in union and community. 

These Games were everything the sport can display, once again showing us why so many people across the globe come together for two short weeks every four years. Even those who barely follow sport in their everyday lives watch for the outcome beneath the Olympic rings. Suddenly, everyone across almost the entire population engages in a conversation about the human spirit, achievements, healthy competition, taboo topics, and the real drama unfolding before our eyes. 

Everyone who watched fencing at the Olympics should be awed by such a great tournament. I would call the outcome of the fencing competition at Tokyo as surprising as any we’ve seen in any year, challenging even the most seemingly inevitable predictions. These Games produced, in my opinion, the most diverse results we could imagine and added tons of new fencing records to what we’ve seen.  A lot of things happened for the first time in these Games. Surprises both positive and negative characterized the action both on and off the piste. 

Just a short while ago, I wrote about my predictions in the individual competitions. Now let’s take a closer look at my initial predictions regarding the team competition and how the events played out at Makuhari Messe. 

How Fencing is Recovering Post-Pandemic

How Fencing is Poised for Recovery Post-Pandemic

The world of fencing saw a drastic decline with the pandemic. All sports saw a huge decline, with the world being pushed into unknown territory and an unclear path to recovery. 

With the cancellation of almost an entire fencing season and the forced shutdown of most fencing clubs, fencing went online and dormant for the better part of a year. There were times that it looked truly dire, and even the most optimistic of us wondered what things would look like when the world reopened. 

We are now able to see some hint of what will happen with reopening, how and when fencing might recover. Below, you’ll find a series of charts that break down the membership numbers from USA Fencing, followed by an analysis of what those numbers mean. Keep in mind, this is just the beginning. Right now, we have numbers from January 2021, at the height of lockdown, and June 2021, when reopening started to take hold. The numbers are encouraging.

Keep reading to see what’s been happening!

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