Academy of Fencing Masters Blog

Art of Fencing, Art of Life

Category: Spirit Page 1 of 14

How Fencers and their Parents Can Live Like Olympians

How Fencers and their Parents Can Live Like Olympians

How do you train like an Olympian? This year, we are going to see the biggest sports stage in the world, with fencing taking center stage more than it does at any other time. Naturally, many fencers and many fencing parents are wondering how they can train like these incredible Olympians. 

The Olympics are very cool because we have so many resources to learn from these athletes. They don’t keep secrets about how they got to where they are. You can literally just go and listen to them, soak up the information. When you talk to Olympic fencers, they tell you how they got there and what their lives were like. There are similarities that run through their stories, and these are some of the themes that are very common.  

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Ibtihaj Mohammad – Gutsy Woman

Ibtihaj Mohammad - One of the women in the Hilary and Chelsea Clinton book Gutsy Women

We never know where life is going to take us to, and I was pleasantly surprised to make a fantastic discovery at my local library today. Walking into the front door of my local public library, I saw a shelf with the label “Lucky Day”, which is a place where the staff curates a series of new releases for lucky readers. Sitting front and center on the shelf was a book about women who have left their mark on the world. It looked interesting, so I picked it up and it fell open. You’ll never believe where it fell open to! It was a page about a fencer! 

Wow!  Needless to say, I was totally shocked. I could not have imagined a fencer in such a prominent book. I’d actually heard of the book before I picked it up. Hillary and Chelsea Clinton recently released a book that they collaborated on called The Book of Gutsy Women: Favorite Stories of Courage and Resilience. I’d noticed an interview with the authors on TV not long before in which they were talking about the book. Though I knew the idea of the book from seeing that, I had no idea that I would find our very own Ibtihaj Muhammad would be featured, though it certainly makes total sense that she would be a part of a book about gutsy women and trailblazers. 

The authors describe the vision of the book like this – “If history shows one thing, it’s that the world needs gutsy women. So in the moments when the long haul seems awfully long, we hope you will draw strength from these stories. We do.” How can you argue with that? As a man who is blessed to have gutsy woman in my life, as well as the father of daughters, I see the importance of this book. I see the importance of these women. 

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What Makes Sport So Important for All of Us?

What Makes Sport So Important for All of Us?

Why is it that sport is common among so many cultures and all over the world? As we head towards the Olympics, everyone is going to be talking about how sports bring the world together. They do bring us all together, and they are something that we all share more freely than we perhaps share other things. 

We will see our fencers take the center stage during this time. Our sport will be highlighted in ways that it is not usually, giving us a bigger platform than we usually have. People will be connected to and inspired by fencers at the Olympics in a way that they are not at any other time. That’s pretty amazing of course, but why is it?

There are the standard explanations, but from the years that we’ve been watching athletes move through this process and from our time with many individuals from all over the world, we think that there might be something else to it all. 

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Why We’re Thankful for Tough Times in Fencing

Why We’re Thankful for Tough Times in Fencing

Fencing is hard work. Very hard work. There are bruises and sore muscles, long days and sometimes too much to balance it seems. Yet we are still thankful for everything that these tough challenges bring to us, for so many reasons. 

Everyone right now seems to be reflecting on what it means to be thankful, and we are not an exception. It’s nice to pause and reflect, to take stock of what we are getting out of the things that we are doing in life. Fencing is obviously one of the big things that we’re doing! 

Thinking of thanks on this fencing journey

This sport, like lots of sports, can be very hard. We fencers all have a love/hate relationship with that hardness. If we didn’t enjoy the challenge, none of us would be here, but it takes grit and determination to get through it. We have to continue to push through, no matter what, or else leave the sport. That last one isn’t an option for those who are passionate about fencing. 

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Fight Until the End of Your Fencing Match

Fight Until the End of Your Fencing Match

The fencing match started out well. You felt confident, missed a touch at the very beginning but almost got in. Your opponent jumped right back in with an answer, getting a point against you. That’s ok, you brush it off, focus and go again. You miss, and they come back with back-to-back touches. You shake it off, take a deep breath and come back to your en guarde, ready to go for your opponent again. This continues, on and on until you look up at the score and realize the match is 14:0. 

Should you give up? Just one more touch and the match will be over. With time running out, you don’t possibly have enough time to get the points and save the match, so it would be very easy and even have some logic to just pulling back to let your opponent have the point. Get on with things and move on. 

Don’t give up!

You know that you’ll probably lose. You know that it would take a miracle to win. Fencing isn’t about winning. Fencing isn’t about beating your opponent. It’s about you becoming better, it’s about you improving over yourself. Oftentimes we see fencers just give up, sometimes well before the match really is over. They think it’s impossible to catch up and they just think it’s not worth it. It’s never worth it to give up. 

Here are twelve reasons why you shouldn’t give up in a losing fencing match.

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