Let’s take you back, way back. Half a decade back. All the way to 2014.
It was a good year overall! Here’s a quick reminder of what was happening.
- The Winter Olympics in Sochi were held under the cloud of Russian state-sponsored doping.
- People poured buckets of ice over their heads on the internet in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.
- Americans could visit Cuba again for the first time in more than fifty years.
- A spacecraft landed on a comet.
- Guardians of the Galaxy topped the box office.
- Jimmy Fallon took over as host of the Tonight Show.
- Barack Obama had another two years left as president.
Can you remember it yet?
Early in the year though, something remarkable happened for us. On Monday, February 3rd, 2014 we published our very first AFM blog post, which is still our most popular post. We can’t believe five years have gone by so fast! How is it possible? When we look back, those events seem like so long ago!
How the AFM blog started
An essential piece of fencing for us was always education. Even before we got online. It’s our deep belief that knowledge is power. That goes both for bringing new people into the sport that we love, but also for helping current fencers and their families learn more.
We found ourselves answering the same questions again and again from fencing families. It seemed that parents of young fencers were at times totally clueless about what to do in certain situations, how to best promote training, even the basic ins and outs of the fencing rules and equipment. This is a complex sport that’s totally different from most of what’s out there. There are no balls and no goals! That means a steep learning curve for new fencing families.
At the start, we didn’t even know where to begin. We didn’t know what to write about. We were very anxious about how to get going, but at the same time we knew this was something we should embark on. From the very beginning, our posts began as discussions with parents. We’d hear one issue come up again and again, at our club or at competition, and then we’d realize that this would be worth addressing. We wanted to help! Our belief is that educated parents are best equipped to support their children’s journey.
Over the last five years and hundreds of blog posts, we’ve never come close to running out of new material! It’s incredible to realize that there is so much information out there to be shared about fencing, how many questions and answers there are to be explored! Somehow we always keep coming back to those parent questions to drive our information.
Steady growth, tremendous thanks
What started out with simple questions from parents turned into something much bigger than we ever imagined. People from all over the world – from the UK and Australia, from Europe and South America, even South Africa and Asia, they contact us to get clarity on some issue. It’s evolved over the last five years so that our posts have been translated to many languages – Turkish, Chinese, Russian, Polish, Arabic, to name a few as those are the translators who asked our permission! One of the great things that we’ve found is how powerful the reach of the internet really is, and how many people there are to connect with. The reach of our blog surprised us! Though we expected to hear from people here and there across the globe, we never would have guessed that it could go so far.
We always wanted to be ambassadors for the sport. Our starting of Academy of Fencing Masters was driven by our absolute love of the sport. It’s beautiful, it’s challenging, it’s engaging. Fencing becomes this wonderful vehicle for self exploration and growth within an individual. Those skills then transfer into all parts of the life of the fencer, and it’s worth shouting from the rooftops!
Over the last five years, we’ve seen incredible growth in our readership. It’s more than we ever imagined when we humbly started answering parent questions back so long ago. We’re thrilled that we’ve become among the top fencing blogs in the world, and that’s thanks to all of you and your essential help: in reading our work, in writing us with your questions, in commenting, in sharing with your communities. We are happy that this resource become to be useful to people, that it helps people to be more educated and informed about fencing. Notice there that the integral part isn’t us – it’s YOU! Our readers are the driving force behind this blog. We could not do it without you!
The thing about teaching that’s kind of a secret is that the teacher ends up learning just as much as the student. That’s absolutely true for us! The more we write the blog, the more it grows, and the more we hear from you, the more we learn. Over the years we have had the chance to delve deeply into so many fencing topics that we might not have thought about otherwise. Your communication with us has been everything, and for that we cannot thank you enough.
Share fencing freely!
Everything you find on the AFM blog is free from copyright. We don’t take measures to lock down a single word here, because the idea is that you can share it freely and improve the fencing community through your improved knowledge. You are free to copy, translate, change, sell – whatever you want. All we ask is that you link back to our original source. You don’t even need to ask our permission! Our main goal and mission is education, and the more that you share and incorporate this material into your own work, the better we can share fencing! It’s a team effort, always.
Thank you eternally for all being a part of this journey. Thank you for your kind words! Everyday, we receive several emails with kind words of encouragement and it helps us keep going. It’s not easy to do it week after week for the last 5 years, but it is you who help us get it done. The pace and stamina are worth it, and we so often find that pushing through another blog piece isn’t totally unlike pushing through a fencing match. It takes focus and practice, but most of all it takes a deep breath and the willingness to just do it. It certainly helps if folks are cheering you on!
We are always looking for new connections and new ideas. If you have a question or would like to see us write about something, please just ask! The best ideas come from the community. We all have different perspective and different ideas of what makes sense. The great part is that we get to explore the answers together.
So please, continue! Please share our work with your fencing friends and community. Keep that light shining and keep the bright days coming. We all know how transformative fencing can be, and we hope that learning about it on our blog has had some small piece of transformation for our readers too.
Salut! To the next 5 years!