Academy of Fencing Masters Blog

Art of Fencing, Art of Life

Category: Coaching (Page 1 of 11)

The New Unwillingness to Fight Rule in Fencing: A Huge Change for Fencers

The New Unwillingness to Fight Rule in FencingUnwillingness to fight.



All of these things mean the same thing. They mean that two fencers are not fencing, they are just standing there looking at each other. In effect, the fencers who are supposed to be big and bold masters of the sword are pretending to be statues instead, waiting for the other fencer to do something.

In competitive fencing, non-combativity has been rampant. It’s been everywhere, and for a very long time, and was often used as a tactical move at high competitive level. That’s all about to change with one swift stroke for every fencer not only in America, but across the world. Soon, it won’t be. Here we’re going to explain the new unwillingness to fight rule that was adopted by FIE (the international governing body for fencing) for all competitions starting January 1st, 2019. It’s the same rule that was adopted by the USFA, with only some slight modification for the United States and that goes into effect on February 14th, 2019.

This is one of the most dramatic changes in fencing rules in recent history. There are of course always a lot of changes, every year we find new changes to adopt, but this one is completely different.

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Why You Should Solidify Your Rating in Fencing

Why You Should Solidify Your Rating in FencingYou’ve done it! After months upon months of hard work and diligent progress, listening to your coach and spending plenty of time at the club, you’ve finally done it! You finally reached that goal and got the fencing rating you were looking for.

Often fencers think that when they get that rating for the first time, they’re done. They’ve reached their goal. They feel like this is a huge accomplishment, one that can carry them forward for a while and maybe they can coast without so much focus and attention on their fencing. At least for a little while. It feels great, a big thing to have accomplished! Which is true, it is a big thing to have accomplished.

But just like everything else in life, it’s important that this kind of accomplishment be put into context. Fencers, especially young fencers, can get into the habit of stopping there, of thinking that because they got that rating that it’s time to sit still for a while. It’s not!

Quick note: We know that those of you who are sticklers for the details would call this not a rating but a fencing classification, and you’d be right that it’s the right term! Technically. However everyone generally calls the letter classification as a “rating”, so for the purposes of mass adaptation we continue to use this unofficial term. Just so you know that we know so you can know.

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Building and Safeguarding Your Fencing Reputation

Building and Safeguarding Your Fencing ReputationIn the highest levels of fencing there is a saying:

Half of your fencing career you work for your reputation. The other half your reputation works for you.

This is true of every level of fencing, even at the local fencing competitions that seem so far from the international level. Fencing is a small community, and within that community, news spreads quickly. Everyone knows everyone, whether you’re at a small tournament in your area or at a national one with fencers from all over the country. That’s especially true as social media runs away with our ability to connect. There will be people who will know you, know your coaches, know even your family members that come along, and many of these people you will never have seen before!

This forces us as fencers to make sure that we are doing what we need to do in order to build and safeguard the kind of reputation that we want to have. Most often this happens organically, but knowing what you’re doing and so creating your reputation with intention is a good idea.

Here are some ways that you can make the most of your competitive fencing reputation.

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Don’t Cruise the Pools in Fencing Competitions: A Fencing Life Lesson

Don’t Cruise the Pools in Fencing Competitions: A Fencing Life LessonAt what point is it ok to just get by? You know, do the least amount of effort to get the biggest reward. It’s a strategy that we offer our fencers quite often on the strip. Conserve your energy, get that point with the least expenditure of movement as possible. That’s effective in the context of a match, but taken out of context it’s a recipe for overconfidence and eventual decline.

Taking the easy way

Sometimes we see fencers, particularly relatively new fencers, try to make it through a fencing competition with the least amount of effort. They figure out that they are the best fencer in their pool, so they don’t try their best. “The idea is to make it through to the Direct Elimination (DE) round anyway right? It doesn’t matter how you get there, just that you get there, and it’s better to be seeded high” they think.

To do this, these fencers will use the same advance again and again. They’ll score the same type of touches over and over, phoning in scores and cruising their way to the DE’s. It’s an easy ego boost, a puffed up way to progress through the rounds of fencing competition.

It’s the same thing that we see sometimes in very smart children, which to be fair our fencers are often very bright students in school. They go to class and get through the work without being challenged. Rather than ask their teacher for harder work that pushes them to grow, they just do the work that comes easily to them and get those grades.

In fact you can go through your whole life like this right? Do the easy thing, get the easy praise, never push yourself to your full potential. It doesn’t matter anyway as long as you are better than someone else, even if that someone else is much less developed than you are. Better to be a confident big fish in a little pond. Or in this case a little “pool”.

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5 New Year’s Resolutions Fencers Probably Won’t Keep

5 New Year’s Resolutions Fencers Probably Won’t KeepSo many new year’s resolutions, so little likelihood that they’ll ever happen. Right? We all make these beautiful lists of beautiful things that we’re going to beautifully do in the new year to help our lives/skills/relationships improve, and then we get bummed out when those things don’t happen. Fencing, for many being a big part of their life, often suffer from the same syndrome of unkempt resolutions.

This whole thing sounds like a big bummer!

It’s not! When we recognize the bad goals that we tend to make, that leaves us room to make realistic goals. Instead of either making ridiculous New Year’s resolutions that are really unlikely to happen, or on the other side just not making any at all, how about we work to strike a balance?

But here we are getting ahead of ourselves. First, we’ve got to identify some common resolutions that fencers often make year after year, only to end in frustration when they don’t keep them.

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