How can this possibly be a good time to start a new sport? Is it even possible to start a new sport right now?
The answer is that yes, it is absolutely possible to start a new sport right now. In fact, now is a really awesome time to start a new sport. We are all searching for some kind of meaning in the madness of the last few months. That meaning can come in the form of a sport like fencing!
Everyone has big feelings about school starting in the fall. Kids. Parents. Teachers.
Should it start online? In person? A hybrid?
What about the spring? What about sports? What about after school activities? What about learning? What about socialization? What about parents? What about work? The “what about”s get flung all over the place, and almost to a person we are all feeling like the rug of life has been pulled out from under us. These are tough things, and we have to face and talk about tough things.
We can all agree on this though – kids have been out of everything for too long.
Every single one of us knows that this is the case.. There is a lot of anger and fear, but honest engagement about it is not easy to come by. The rational dialogue has gotten lost in the swirl of emotions. That’s something we understand – we are emotional too. Exploring and working it out, this is the way to stay grounded.
What is truly controversial is the question of who is responsible for getting our kids back on track now that they have been out of everything for too long. That’s a tough question with a very simple answer.
Erika Kirpu is a bright star in the world of fencing. Anyone can appreciate her indomitable spirit and deep level of growth. She is a fencer who molds her experiences into new skills, building on what she has come from while embracing the forward fight.
Erika is a two-time team Gold medal winner at the European Championships for Estonia and a two time team World Champion, as both a Junior and a Senior. This small country has power-packed epee fencers, and she is notably among them. In 2014, she won individual Bronze at the World Championships. Over the course of a career that started when she was very young and under the tutelage of her fencing coach father, Erika Kirpu has changed and grown dramatically. It’s impressive to see, and it’s something all fencers can learn from.
During this pandemic, I came upon this opportunity to interview prominent fencers from around the world. As I speak with these champions, I’ve come to realize how unknown fencers are to the public. Even Olympic champions are known only to a narrow circle of fencers. Millions of people know what Serena Williams ate for breakfast yesterday but cannot name a single Olympic fencing champion. I’m sure that if sports fans see the lively and interesting people behind the faceless messages like “Estonia won a Gold medal at the World Cup”, then there will be more interest in fencing. Erika’s story is one such story.
When we look for information and guidance, the first place we almost always go today is the internet. Blogs give us concise, focused insight into specific subjects like fencing from lots of different points of view. The variety is part of the appeal.
This is a unique year because we have time to delve into ideas more deeply, because we’re all at home. Many platforms and individuals are organizing new content online, and that’s an exciting thing that we can all get behind! A silver lining in 2020. Fencing has seen a whole thrust of new content, from inspirational to educational to innovative.
Fencing as a sport is very niche. This means that there are very few, if any, big name blogs. Everything you’ll find online is written by people who love it – this is not a topic that people write about unless they are passionate about it! Writing about fencing is a pure labor of love. As someone who blogs about fencing regularly, I can certify this myself. It requires a huge amount of time, commitment, and deduction to continuously produce.
If I am putting all of this effort in, why am I promoting my rivals to my readers? The answer is that it’s not about rivalry! More is more. My goal is to promote the sport of fencing, not myself. More perspectives are only a good thing. This is the same philosophy as it is for fencing – the person on the other side of the strip is not the enemy, they are the catapult that helps you become better. The same goes for blogging.
There are some great fencing bloggers who had been going for many years who have now gone on hiatus or into semi-retirement. It’s a sad thing to see those perspectives fall to the wayside. As those happen, we’ve also seen many new works and lots of high quality content recently. To that end, I’m happy to introduce my final list of the Best Fencing Blogs 2020! It was hard to choose this year, to decide on the relevance of the wonderful blogs out there and to prioritize them. This list is of course subjective, based on my preferences and point of view.
The criteria that the fencing blogs were evaluated for are:
relevance beyond current events
wide geography (not country/region/club specific)
originality (not re-publishing from other sources).
I am myself more of a reader than a watcher – I would rather read an article on a subject than watch a video on it. However, I recognize that the world is changing. More and more people are more comfortable and interested in video content than written content and I appreciate that. That’s why this list highlights all formats – video, audio and written blogs.
I’ve also noted the demise of a few great blogs, which I mention below with a heavy heart. The good news is that, while there may not be any new content coming to those blogs, you’ll still find their old blogs up. Nothing really dies on the internet!
The internet is a vast universe of content, so there is no doubt that I (hopefully!) missed some great fencing resources. Please leave a comment if you know of something that I’ve left off the list! We want everyone to get the most out of what’s out there.
If you haven’t checked out these resources, then I cannot recommend them highly enough to you. The top fencing blogs of 2020 are worth reading!
We talk a lot about the mental game of fencing, how it takes adaptability and focus to be successful. One of the most adaptable and focused fencers we’ve had the joy of talking to is Yuval Freilich.
This young and hungry epee fencer represents Israel on the world stage, and he is doing it with a thoughtful nature that does not match his youthful age. At only twenty-five years old, Yuval has a long career ahead of him. Last year, he made a major mark on epee fencing when he took the Gold medal home from the European Championships. This was the first time an Israeli fencer has taken home the top prize at this level of competition.
What you’ll see here is a fencer who sees the varied dimensions of the sport, and one who has made surprising and difficult decisions to compete in it. We were delighted by his ability to articulate the nuance of epee fencing and of how he overcame the challenges that could have become roadblocks to his success. The tactical and technical insight he gives here, including for fencers who are shorter than their opponents, well it’s worth reading.
Don’t expect this genuine and heartfelt interview to be the last you hear from Yuval Freilich, this remarkable epee fencer.