It’s the seventh anniversary of the AFM blog! We launched this online resource on February 3rd, 2014, and it’s been a joy every step of the way, even as it’s been a lot of hard work. In that way, it’s a whole lot like fencing itself. From that time, we set out to be a resource for parents, fencers, coaches, fans, and those who were just starting to dip their toes into this wonderful world. We never could have imagined how much we would grow or how far our words would reach, but for every reader and contributor, we are immensely grateful.
The number seven has been a significant number for thousands of years. There are the Seven Wonders of the World, seven days in a week, seven continents, seven seas, on and on. Lucky seven is a trope in Las Vegas casinos because six and one are on opposite sides of a dice and because it wins big. It’s a prime number. It’s even the most popular number! No really – there was a poll done about the number seven in 2014 that showed that it was favorited! It’s a quantity that is considered lucky by cultures through time and around the world, and I personally find that it’s a magical number.
Here, we cannot help but use this magical number to look back at where we came from, because really that is a great way to help us look forward. We’ll start here with our very first blog, published on February 3, 2014.
This is a perspective that still holds wonderfully true today, and it sets the tone for everything that we see in our blog today. Fencing is, at its heart, a whole body and whole mind venture. Today we might say that fencing can give both young and not-so-young extra advantages! It expands our social circle, engages our physical selves, and it pushes us to continue to grow.
To celebrate this major milestone in the life of our blog, we’re sharing seven categories of blogs that have been especially fantastic in the last seven years, plus seven blogs within each category that are among our most viewed or that we find to be particularly resonant. Seven times seven – that makes this super lucky right? Here you’ll find highlights of some of our most popular pieces, many of which you’ve probably seen, but some of which might be new to you!
1 – Fencing Interviews
We have learned from many, many of the best people in the fencing world in the last several years. It’s been a real honor for us to be a part of communicating the insight that these truly incredible people have offered to our readers.
These are seven of our interviews, but there are many others (some in further categories below!), and honestly, each one has been extraordinary. They are all well worth the read, and even we find something new every time we
- Olympic Fencing Commentator Karim Bashir on Passion, Knowledge, and Storytelling
- Intersectional Championship Philosophy with Italian Epee World Champion Mara Navarria
- Picking Apart Fencing Greatness with Cyrus of Chaos
- 2020 Olympic Talk with Top Ranked Foilist Nick Itkin
- Áron Szilágyi Talks Back-to-back Saber Olympic Gold, Training, and the Championship Mentality
- Six-time Olympic Champion Valentina Vezzali on Foil, Female Empowerment, and Forward Thinking
- Talking Fencing and Coronavirus with Michael Aufrichtig, Fencing Head Coach at Columbia University
2 – Parenting Fencers
Fencing families have always been a central part of our view of fencing. Parents are a wonderful facilitating force for fencers, and we really want to give them the best information and support that we can.
There are many, many facets to parenting a fencer. From considering college to the day-to-day work that goes into keeping fencers going. These seven blogs are only a sampling of this wide subject that we have walked through ourselves. Every day as a parent brings new growth! That’s very true of fencing parents.
- Ideas and Steps to Encourage Your Child to Stick with Fencing
- Refreshing Olympic Parenting Insight with Cathy Zagunis
- Why You SHOULDN’T Watch Your Child’s Fencing Practice
- What Age Should My Child Start Fencing?
- A Fencing Parent’s Guide to Grooming an Elite Athlete
- What’s in Your Bag? Practical Tips for the Equipment Bag from a Fencing Mom
- 7 Ways to Help Kids Balance Sports and Academics in the Time of COVID
3 – Equipment and Gear
Our gear is a defining feature of fencing. Though we have explored fencing equipment in great detail on our blog over the years, there is still so much out there to talk about. We’ve really only just touched on what there is out there! Here are seven blogs that are a little of what we’ve talked about in regards to the hard stuff of our sport.
- How to Put on Fencing Gear, With Illustration
- Fencing Masks and Claustrophobia – What You Can Do About It
- Fencing Blade Size: How to Choose the Right One
- Competitive Fencing Equipment for Children: What do you really need?
- The anatomy of a fencing sword
- How to Fix a Fencing Lame – 3 Simple Steps
- How to Connect to the Fencing Strip
4 – Fencing Rules and Regulations
The rules and regulations of fencing have changed over the years, sometimes in little ways and sometimes in significant ways. Helping our readers to not only understand the new regulations but also to dig deeper and get a real understanding of the longtime rules is a priority for us. Here are seven rules and regulations pieces that can hopefully bring clarity!
- Fencing Safety Rules [Infographic]
- Code of Honor – Understanding the Black Card in Sports
- The New Unwillingness to Fight Rule in Fencing: A Huge Change for Fencers
- Understanding Weapon Checks During the Bout
Right of Way Series
- Referees and Right of Way/Priority
- A Dummy’s Guide to Right of Way or Priority in Fencing
- How to Learn Right of Way/Priority
5 – Inspiration and Spirit in Fencing
There is a strong theme of inspiration in this blog, and that’s because it’s a part of fencing that we get excited about. Inspiration has come to us from so many different places – from our kids, from Olympians, from coaches, from referees, from our veteran fencers, and from other disciplines that we then bring to our fencing understanding. We believe in the power of this sport, and that spirit of fencing is the touchstone that keeps us coming back.
- A Veteran Fencer’s Guide to Training through Difficult Times
- Don’t Judge the Fencing Referees – A Lesson in Good Sportsmanship
- Building Camaraderie with Your Fencing Opponent
- How Fencers Can Learn to Accept Constructive Criticism
- Art of Fencing, Art of Life
- 12 Disadvantages of Fencing
- Mindset Reset – From “Have to” to “Get to” to “Want to”
6 – Fencing in competition
Competitive fencing is an important part of what we do, though it is by no means the only thing that fencing is for any of us. What this expression of our sport does is to push us harder, to help us focus our goals, and to give us a measure by which we can chart our growth. Adding tools to the toolbox of competitive fencers helps us all to get better, so here are seven of our highlighted blogs on competitive fencing.
- The Dilemma of “Going Easy” on a Fencing Opponent
- A Comprehensive Guide to USA Fencing Tournaments
- Why Do Fencers Sometimes Perform Better in Practice than in Competition?
- Warm-up routine before competitions for young fencers
- What to Expect at Your First Fencing Competition
- Tournament seeding – what it is and how it is done
- Competing to Train vs. Competing to Win in Fencing
7 – Fun on the piste
Sometimes we go into topics related to fencing that are just for the joy of it. This is a joyful sport! These last seven blogs are all ones that make us raise an eyebrow or chuckle a bit. Though we are a sport that comes from deadly combat, and though we are a focused group of diligent hard workers, we are still here to soak up the humor and delight that fencing brings (some of these blogs were written for April Fools’ Day)!
- Do Not Hang Noodles On My Ears – What Did RUSSIAN FENCING COACH SAY?
- Why are fencing uniforms white?
- The Best Fencing Swords of 2020
- The Culture of Fencing in Movies
- Smart Device to Help Fencers to Combat New Unwillingness to Fight Rule in Fencing
- Bruce Lee – The World’s Most Famous Fencer?
- World’s First Zoom Fencing Competition
Thank you to all of our readers for a hugely engaging and expansive seven years! We look forward to continuing to share more content with you that informs, excites, and most importantly which builds our fencing community. We are definitely the lucky ones.