Academy of Fencing Masters Blog

Art of Fencing, Art of Life

A Call for Change: Re-running for USA Fencing Board of Directors

Rerunning for USA Fencing Board of Directors
Time For Change Representing At Present And Presently

In the world of fencing, a strong, visionary leadership at the helm is vital to the sport’s growth and development. Last year, I ran for the USFA Board of Directors, and while I did not secure a seat, my conviction to make a difference has only grown stronger. I firmly believe that now, more than ever, the board needs individuals deeply entrenched in the fencing world—people who understand the diverse perspectives of coaches, clubs, parents, fencers, and referees. People who have their feet on the ground, know the ins and outs of the sport, and are committed to growing it from the grassroots level. Together with Andrey Geva, owner and head coach of Alliance Fencing Academy, former Head Coach of Women’s Epee, and USA Fencing Hall of Famer, we are committed to steering the USFA towards a brighter, more organized future.

A Vision of Transformation

Our decision to re-run for the USFA Board of Directors isn’t driven by personal ambition but rather by a profound vision for the future of fencing in the United States. Our goal is to lead the USFA toward better organization, inclusivity, and efficiency.

As leaders with our feet firmly on the ground, we have worn many hats within the sport. From coaching on the national and International stage to experiencing fencing as parents ourselves, we possess a comprehensive understanding of the intricacies of the sport. This firsthand experience has equipped us with unique insights into what our fencing community needs.

New Year, New Goals – The Whole Fencer Blueprint for 2024

New Year, New Goals - The Whole Fencer Blueprint for 2024

Every year, we start off in January setting goals that will hopefully carry us through the next year and help us level up to where we want to be. Of course, you’re going to change over the course of a year no matter what you do, but at the start of every year we have this feeling that we should somehow control the direction of our changes in a year. 

We talk about goals a lot on this blog, and we do it because they’re important. You have to have an idea of where you’re going to figure out how to get there. We see so many fencers who miss out on opportunities because they don’t know where they want to go. If you don’t want to miss a turn on the highway, you have to have directions. 

But this year, I was thinking about goals and how we approach the whole thing, and I couldn’t help but feel like we’re missing something. Most resolutions are discarded within a few weeks. What if there’s another way? That’s when I started thinking about fencing as a holistic endeavor. We could look at this not just in isolation, but from the standpoint of how it all interacts across not just fencing, but in a broader area of our lives.

The Whole Fencer Blueprint is a concept that aims to cultivate well-rounded, resilient, and fulfilled young fencers. It’s an idea that makes a lot of sense for the new year, especially as youth fencers are trying to balance a whole host of activities and aspirations. 

Here’s how it might work: rather than just thinking about fencing goals, let’s expand our understanding into seven different and distinct areas that all feed into one another. 

Exciting News: Join Me in the “Parents’ Corner” at American Fencer!

Parents' Corner at American Fencer!

I am thrilled to share some exciting news with all of you in the fencing community. Recently, I received a wonderful invitation to become a regular columnist at “American Fencer,” the online reincarnation of the renowned “American Fencing” magazine. American Fencer now offers more in-depth stories, allowing us to explore a wider range of fencing-related topics. It’s truly an honor to be a part of this prestigious platform, and I’m looking forward to contributing valuable insights on fencing parenting and related topics.

As many of you know, I have been passionate about fencing and dedicated to fostering the growth of young fencers through my work at the Academy of Fencing Masters (AFM). Over the years, I have had the privilege of sharing my thoughts and experiences through my AFM blog. Now, I’m excited to expand the reach of these discussions and delve even deeper into the world of fencing parenting with “American Fencer.”

My first article, “How Hard Should Parents and Coaches Push Young Fencers,” has already been published, and I invite you all to read and engage with it. This is just the beginning of what promises to be a great journey, and I can’t wait to continue sharing valuable insights, advice, and stories with the fencing community.

I want to express my gratitude to all of you for your ongoing support and encouragement. It’s your passion for fencing and dedication to the sport that motivates me to explore these important topics further. Together, we can continue to nurture the next generation of fencers and create a positive and enriching environment for all.

Also, I want to thank Serge Timacheff, the Editor-in-Chief of American Fencer, for believing in the value of our discussions on fencing parenting and related themes. I look forward to collaborating with the American Fencer team and sharing valuable insights with the fencing community.

Stay tuned for more articles in the “Parents’ Corner” at American Fencer, and let’s embark on this exciting journey together!

Thank you, and happy fencing!

Fencing, Music, and the Divide Between Enrichment and Competition

There’s a great misunderstanding about what fencing does for kids and where it should fall in their lives, both now and in the future. Not so much within the fencing community, but definitely with people who are looking at it from the outside. 

With other activities, like music, for example, it’s perfectly acceptable for a child just to do the activity, and it is understood that simple enrichment is worthwhile. It doesn’t matter if they will become the best violinist or pianist who plays in Carnegie Hall. Parents understand that it’s enough for them to simply do this activity now. Even if they don’t play the piano into adulthood, it’s ok. 

The discipline and creative thinking skills, not to mention the joy, are enough for everyone. 

Yet, for some reason, fencing is not seen in this same light. Oftentimes, parents will come into the club to start their kids in the sport, and they’ll be laser-focused on how fencing’s biggest benefit is if their fencer goes all the way to the Olympics or at least gets recruited into a college. Anything short of these massive goals is not going to be enough. 

It’s a frustrating situation, but one that I think we should explore. Not because music or other activities aren’t worthwhile, but because fencing is one that is just as worthwhile and which deserves to be seen in the same light. 

Mastering Patience in Fencing

Mastering Patience in Fencing

As a fencer, you’re no stranger to the challenges and rewards of this exhilarating sport. However, there’s a universal truth that resonates deeply with fencers: it’s the importance of mastering patience in our journey toward success.

In competitive fencing, everything often takes longer than we anticipate. We set our sights on achieving specific skills or rankings, winning that national medal, or getting recruited to a top college, and often we envision a swift ascent to success. But reality teaches us that the path to excellence is more of a marathon than a sprint and that patience is not just a virtue but an indispensable ally in your fencing journey.

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