Fencing Lucky Charms - What Role Does Luck Play in Winning a Fencing Bout?Do you believe in fencing lucky charms? Are you lucky on the strip?

Lots of fencers carry around lucky bits to bouts. Special socks, a lucky coin in their pocket, that mask that always seems to help them get those points. Sports in general can be tricky in terms of what happens, there’s always an element of uncertainty. That’s part of the fun of it!

But what is the role of luck in fencing? Do you have to be lucky in order to be successful in fencing?

Bad luck, good luck

Every fencer can tell you a few stories of good/bad luck they’ve encountered in some of their competitions. So what are the most common lucky or unlucky things that we see in fencing? Of course in most cases it depends on how you look at it all.

Bad luck

  • You fence wonderfully, but miss all your points by just a hair.
  • Your weapon stops working.
  • You fence great in the pools and get a very good seeding, hoping to get an easy route towards more advanced DE. However, in another pool some of the favorites had a bad day and ended with a lower seeding and will meet you in your first DE! (While it is a bad luck from the point of view of meeting a strong opponent too early, at least you can comfort yourself that you got high qualify fencing earlier on).
  • On the way to the competition, you run into traffic and have to run to get ready. You’re exhausted and unfocused and lose your match.
  • Your shoe comes off during the match.
  • You referee sneezes just at the wrong moment and makes a bad call against you.
  • You sneeze at the wrong moment and get a point against you.

Here’s a fun video of some bad luck in fencing matches – near misses and awkward points!

Good luck

  • Your moves aren’t that great, you lose the phrase but all your touches land correctly while your opponent’s touches miss.
  • Your opponent has any of the bad luck thing mentioned previously (harsh and we wouldn’t wish bad luck on anyone, but it’s still good for you!)
  • A new, top of the line coach starts training students at your club just in time to help you train for a critical competition
  • You catch a loose screw in your weapon just before going on and are able to tighten it before the match.
  • Your flight gets delayed, but you make it to the venue just in time to warm up and compete.
  • You forget your mask at home, but the venue has a vendor selling them with one in your size and you’re able to get it before the match.

Check out these amazing (and maybe lucky?) fencing moments from men’s foil!

Luck and travel can go so much hand in hand. One of these kinds of things happened just few days ago to one of our fencers at Cleveland Youth NAC. The fencer finished in the medal round but needed to cut everything short without attending the award ceremony and run to the airport to catch their flight. Suddenly they received a text message from the airline that the flight was canceled due to the storm, so they stayed till the end and participated in the ceremony. So, is it good or bad luck? 🙂

In fact, most situations can be looked at from both sides. What we might consider to be bad luck might be looked at as good luck, or vice versa. If you’re late for a match and miss your pool, then it might be that you were going to get an unfortunate injury during competition that would have taken you out for the season. Who knows?

But when is luck not really luck, and more a matter of preparation? That’s the big question we’re asking. Top fencers don’t get to the top because of luck. Even though there might be some bits of luck here and there, for the most part we make our own luck.

The one place that I do think that luck comes into play in a real way is in getting into fencing in the first place. Most first generation fencers have wonderful stories of how they happened into the sport. For example, Race Imboden was playing with lightsabers in a park when he was nine years old when someone mentioned to his mother that he try fencing. Without that chance encounter, he likely wouldn’t have made it into fencing! It’s the kind of story that we hear again and again.

What good luck it is that we’re in this amazing sport of fencing! And what bad luck for those people who have never had the chance encounter that brought them to this wonderful sport.

Luck us what happens when preparation meets opportunity. – Seneca

The thing about luck on the strip is this – you can’t take a lucky shot if you don’t have the training to take it. While I’m not going to say that there isn’t a certain amount of luck involved in winning, I am going to say that most of what passes for “luck” is actually fencers working really hard and then being able to take advantage of chances that come to them. They aren’t so much lucky as they are prepared – Seneca is totally right on this one.

When you work with consistency, you take matters into your own hands, making luck work for you. That’s the real crux of the story here. The more you train well, the more you put into the sport of fencing, the luckier you’ll be. It’s almost magic! And it does feel magical when it all comes together. Only the really amazing thing is that the magic, the luck of the thing, came from inside of you.

Do you have any fun lucky stories, either bad luck or good luck in fencing? What about how you got into the sport, was it with a lucky moment? What do you think the role of luck is in fencing? Let us know in the comments!