To live a healthy active lifestyle many people will choose an activity that they can and want to do. This is a way to insure that activity will be a part of your entire life. For example, if you hate running, odds are good you won’t be a runner when you’re in your 60’s. But if you love running, it’s possible for you to continue running marathons until well into your 90’s and some have even run marathons older than that!
For many, fencing can be and become a lifetime passion.
Fencing for the Fun of It
Recently I had a long discussion with a mom of a fencer. She shared with me that her daughter is not the most competitive fencer, and will probably not rank high on a national level competition. However, while her daughter works hard day in and out to perfect every single movement from the most basic, to the more complex, she LOVES fencing.
It is not that often that she does make a podium during a competition, and then she is elated because she is that much more proud of her monumental accomplishment, as medals don’t tend to be within an easy reach for her.
This mother has had many conversations with her daughter about choosing to continue with the sport. It is apparently obvious to both of them that she may never be traditionally successful. Each time the subject comes up, her daughter refuses to quit fencing. She tells her mom that while medals are nice and sure they can be important, this is not what she loves about the sport, nor why she chooses to continue to participate in it.
She even told her mom, “Mom, I know I am not the best fencer in the class, very far from it, but I am the most reliable one. I will be there for them to train with, to support them, to be a sparring partner with, even if it would be most probably them who get the podiums and the glory. They will know that no matter what, that they and our coach can count on me. And they see that no matter what, I will work as hard as I can. I cannot receive the medals, maybe, but for sure I will put up a good fight”
As a mom myself, I can empathize with what this young fencer’s own mother must have felt at hearing this. Mostly that she is proud and adores her daughter’s self confidence.
The truth is, It’s easy to continue doing something that’s easy. It’s easy when everything comes naturally and it’s easy to be motivated when you consistently return from competition with a medal. On the other hand, it’s extremely difficult to continue, time after time, to finish your competition after the first elimination.
This mother believes her daughter to be one of (if not THE) strongest fencers because of her strength of character. She continues to participate, despite her losses, despite her struggles. And as her daughter continues to push through these obstacles, she watches her evolve into a natural leader. She is dependable, she never gives up, and she is a consistent presence for her teammates and fellow fencers.
This mother shared with me, “ I don’t need to have the next Olympian, but I need to have a daughter that I can be proud of. To watch the human being that she is becoming, and as a result, who I am as well, by watching her evolution.”
As a parent, I second this statement. While we are all happy for medals and high finishes, this is not why we love fencing and not why our kids love fencing.
For me fencing is a lifestyle and a fantastic sport that influences my children to be better in so many areas, and become better people overall.
There are so many things to love about fencing other than podiums.
Passion is Contagious
Passion for anything can be contagious, particularly in a competitive atmosphere such as sport of fencing. For those who love and feel passionately about fencing, they tend to contribute in many ways to make the sport better. Their energy and enthusiasm alone can contribute to make a practice more fun for everyone involved.
Some become evangelists of the sport, end up finding ways to think outside of the box in all of regarding how they can bring the sport to more places, such as schools or community centers. Others may volunteer to go to different fairs or community events to promote the sport of fencing.
Some may even invent new products such as software, hardware, or a new service to help fencers and their coaches at competitions. At the bare minimum, many passionate fencers may volunteer at tournaments or fencing demonstrations.
The point is, you do not need to be a world champion to contribute to the sport. You do not need to be an Olympian to make a difference in the sport you love. You can just be yourself, love what you do and understand where your limitations lay. If you’re destined to make it to the top of the podium, then great! If you’re more suited nowhere near the podium, but you still love everything about it, that’s fantastically great too!
The Many Ways to Love Fencing
Fencing is an art. In every bout you create something new and magical. It’s a puzzle, an enigma, a combat, a fantastic workout complete with the thrill of poking an opponent and defending yourself. Most importantly it provides an answer to the world’s oldest question: who among two opponents is better.
There are so many things to love about fencing.
- Every bout is a mini competition.
- You are constantly setting new goals, and once you achieve one goal, setting a new one and so on. Break a record, break another record, and so on.
- There is so much self satisfaction in watching yourself improve with each bout. Perhaps yesterday you could not score anything against a certain opponent and could not even defend against their attacks. But today, one touch at a time, and you may see yourself improving. Becoming faster, stronger, smarter. Constantly evolving.
- You are privy to a developed sense of self confidence built over time and through multiple experiences.
- You inevitably build life-long friendships (and relationships with competitors).
As with all sports, each athlete can contribute in unique ways that can both benefit themselves, and their club or team as a whole. Whether it be as a solid sparring partner, a competitive first rate fencer, or a really enthusiastic member of the club who just loves to introduce the sport to all of their friends and family. Your passion and love for the sport, however it manifests, is worth noting, worth appreciating, and worth respecting.