Academy of Fencing Masters Blog

Art of Fencing, Art of Life

Category: Spirit Page 2 of 19

What We’re Looking Forward to in Fencing in 2021

What We’re Looking Forward to in Fencing in 2021

A new year means new goals and new possibilities. Though the last twelve months have been defining and challenging in ways that we haven’t seen for decades on a global scale AND on a personal level, there is every reason to think that things the new year 2021 will be different and improved.

This year is one that has the potential to be extraordinary, for many reasons. We have learned lots of lessons and explored so many ways of living that we didn’t know were even possible, and now we get to take those with us into a brand new, unblemished turning of the calendar.

From competitions to movies, here’s what we’re most looking forward to in fencing in 2021.

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Farewell 2020! (And Thank You.)

Farewell 2020!

This year has been one that we will never forget, but also one that we might wish not to remember, as we are saying to it – farewell 2020!

There is a running sentiment among everyone that 2020 is a year that we need to just put behind us. It’s been horrible, miserable, and is better left in the rearview mirror. There is certainly some ring of truth in that feeling, but to dwell on that idea is to ignore all of the great things that have happened this year. There have been positive things in 2020, and we don’t even have to wear rose colored glasses in order to see them. 

This was a year of discovery, in wonderful ways that will affect our future and that we can build on. There is a sense that the world has shifted through the demands of this year, and with that shift we have grown.

As we say farewell to 2020, we cannot help but reflect on the good that we have found in it. Here are eight great things that we will take with us from this challenging year. 

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Kindness in the Darkest Times – a Pandemic Fairy Tale

Kitoo Dubb and X'Pressions Team
Kitoo Dubb (third from the left) and her X’Pressions team

Bright things are happening, even in the seeming darkness of winter. 

We have experienced some wonderful, uplifting and beautiful acts during the pandemic. It is easy to focus on the hardships that the last year has brought us, but there are such good things that have come this year too! The community support and building each other up has been a true testament to our resilience. 

This is not something that we would normally publish on our blog, but then again this has not been a normal time. We wanted to share something uplifting and happy, something that would remind us that kindness exists.

This is a real magical Christmas story that will make you feel good!

Do you remember the fairy tales from Hans Christian Andersen that look like a regular story about ordinary people, but suddenly turn into extraordinary twists and turns, making you believe in magic? This is the type of story that I am going to tell you, dear friends. 

When we are at the end of the story, we shall know more than we know now. But for now, let us begin. 

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Gratitude in the time of COVID

Gratitude in the time of COVID

It can feel like the last year has been nothing more than one long and impossible series of choices that are gut wrenching for us to make, yet they have to be made. Gratitude is not an easy sentiment to come by as the months drag on and on, especially when we realize that pandemic lockdowns are only going to get worse in the coming months. 

I miss fencing competitions. 

I miss the sound of swords clashing.

I miss hugging my family.

I miss the feel of getting on an airplane.

I miss my opponents.

I miss movie theaters.

I miss handshakes from my coach. 

I miss sitting over dinner with my friends.

I miss yells on the piste.

I miss not having to think about coronavirus all the time.

I miss feeling confident in the future.

Before this pandemic lockdown, we knew what was what. We planned for fencing competitions years in advance at times. We knew that Fencing Summer Nationals would happen every summer and that every four years we could count on the Olympics to give us a fresh infusion of inspiration and determination. High school seniors knew that they would go off to live in a dorm in the fall. Middle school fencers knew they would come to the club after school and practice. You could count on these things, just the same as the seasons turning or the sun rising in the morning. 

It is very much as though the sun isn’t rising the way it’s supposed to.

There’s no reason to deny the struggle that this time is. We can put a shine over it, try to dig harder to make it through, but that wears on us. It is wearing on us. The well of sunshine that we project is not endless, and it does no good to try to pretend it is. We are worried about our future, and also about our present. That makes our light dimmer, though it doesn’t put it out. 

Sometimes, I think we should allow it to be dim. It’s recharging, and most of all it’s honest. The toll that this long lockdown has taken on small businesses, including fencing clubs, is real and it is wearying. Will fencing still be here when everything reopens? Once the vaccine does come, and it will come, what will be left? Once lockdown is not our everyday life, can our everyday life be what it was before? The truth is that life will not be the same as it was before. 

These months have been demoralizing in many ways, for many different people and for a whole lot of different reasons. It activated a part of our brains that is focused on survival, something that most of us have not had to think about before. We are pushed to give more than we ever have before, and sometimes we don’t even know how to give it. 

But the sun does still rise. 

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Mindset Reset – From “Have to” to “Get to” to “Want to”

Mindset Reset - From “Have to” to “Get to” to “Want to”
Beautiful flower seedling growing in the center trunk as a concept of new life

The mind is the most powerful thing that we have. In both fencing and in daily life, we have the opportunity to change our manifested world when we adapt our mindset. It’s no easy thing to do, and in the midst of a global pandemic that has changed our daily lives, it is both more important than ever before and also more difficult than ever before. 

There are a great many things that the pandemic calls on us to adapt to. We must adapt to a new physical environments and models of learning. We must adapt to wearing masks and social distancing. We must adapt to new ways of fencing, with socially distanced instruction and new modalities of practice. It’s all well and good to recognize that we have to adapt, but how do we adapt effectively?

The answer is that we must change our mindset. This doesn’t happen easily or without focus. Changing one’s mindset is a tough process, but that’s why it’s transformative! A mindset reset allows us to push ourselves in new directions and to take advantage of the opportunities that are sitting right in front of us. 

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