Academy of Fencing Masters Blog

Art of Fencing, Art of Life

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Saving Fencing During the Coronavirus Pandemic – How Fencing Clubs Can Make Online Classes Work

How Fencing Clubs Can Make Online Classes Work

We are right now experiencing one of the most extraordinary moments in modern history. The coronavirus pandemic has totally changed the way that we live our lives, and that change has fundamentally threatened fencing as we know it. I am not being dramatic here, I am being realistic. Yes, things will go back to something resembling normal eventually. Of course that will happen. In the meantime, we risk losing not only the progress that our fencers have made, but also potentially the clubs that train them. Make no mistake – fencing as we know it is something that we have to protect right now.

What are fencing clubs doing to be safe? What can fencing clubs do to maintain our sport while staying safe? What can fencing clubs do to keep the spark in the eyes of their fencers?

We can only share with you what we’re doing to help save fencing in the United States and keep our fencers engaged based on our experience. I want to share with the fencing community the steps that we did so that any other club in the United States or anywhere else in the world can do what we have done. Anyone affected by COVID-19 can follow these steps and continue to train their members so that we will feel as little effect of the quarantine as possible under these circumstances. 

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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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Don’t Give Your Lead Too Much Importance in Fencing

Don’t Give Your Lead Too Much Importance in Fencing. Illustration - Usain Bolt at 100m final at Beijing Olympic Games 2008

Recently, we wrote that fencers need to fight till the end. That’s important, but the flip side is that you cannot let your lead make you quit fighting either. Fighting till the end when you are behind is important, but so is fighting till the end when you’re in a lead.

This happens all of the time to young fencers. They start off with a lead of three or four touches and then they suddenly relax, they stop fighting, and they assume that it’s just going to keep going their way. A few minutes later, they discover that their opponent hasn’t given up and has succeeded in catching up, turning the bout around. What was a gracious lead turns in an instant to a bout that is not so easy. 

It’s understandable to get to a place of comfort when you’re doing well, it’s something that everyone does. We all do this! You have an advantage and you assume that it will last, just like we often are living with a disadvantage and feel like that will go on forever. It’s a human habit. 

With experience, you learn that there nothing is permanent.  It’s a beautiful part of life, one that we have to embrace. Being adaptable and staying on alert is how we can continue to do well. It’s how master fencers approach their sport. 

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Competing to Train vs. Competing to Win in Fencing

Competing to Train vs. Competing to Win in Fencing - Mariel Zagunis at Absolute Fencing Gear Sabre World Cup in Salt Lake City December 2019

The goal of every fencing competition is to win, right? Wrong. Not all fencing competitions are the same, and fencers should not have the same goal of winning for every fencing competition. Not in every competition you are competing to win.

 There are two types of competitions in general. 

  1. Fencing competitions where you need to perform well.
  2. Fencing competitions where you need to push your boundaries and learn.

The first type of competition is the one that we usually think about, but expanding the understanding of what it means to be competitive can boost your fencing in ways that you never thought of. 

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