Something that we’ve heard people ask, more than once, is “Why should I pay so much for my child to do fencing?”
Let’s be real, fencing can be an expensive sport. Compared to soccer or track, there’s more equipment to buy and a wider range of competitions to go to. Unlike school sports, parents are footing the bill all on their own. Classes, camps, and private lessons all cost. Those bills add up, and for families that matters. So why do fencing parents do it?
The secret answer is – they aren’t paying for fencing.
That’s right, no one is paying for sword fighting lessons. They aren’t paying for trophies with fencing swords on them. They aren’t paying for cool jackets or coaches with exotic accents. They aren’t even paying to be part of a centuries old art of chivalry. If it’s not any of those things, then what is it that they’re paying for?
Here are ten things that fencing parents are paying for when they sign their kids up for fencing lessons.
1 – Tenacity
Fencing parents are paying for their kids to learn tenacity. It’s those times when a kid is so exhausted and discouraged that they want to quit, but they push through and do it anyway.
2 – Long days
That’s right, parents are paying for long days. Kids who come home from school so tired from studying but who pick up themselves and go to the club anyway. Successful people have long days, and this is a skill that fencers develop with abandon.
3 – Focus
Fencing is a game of speed and acuity, as much mentally as it is physically. Parents are paying for their children to learn to focus on the strip, and that transfers well outside the fencing club.
4 – Responsibility
The flip side of all of that expensive fencing equipment is that kids learn to take care of it. An epee, a foil, or a sabre requires a great deal of time and learning in order to keep the mechanical portions working properly. Fencing gear from masks to gloves to body cords teach young fencers to take care of the equipment in order to reach their goals.
5 – Relationships
Fencer build significant personal relationships with their mentors, their coaches, and their teammates. It’s a beautiful thing, and one of the highest points of the any sport. Part of what makes fencing so special is the niche nature of the sport. That makes for deep relationships across ages and backgrounds.
6 – Losing
Parents are paying for their kids to lose! That’s crazy right? The individual nature of fencing, combined with the rapid fire style of fencing matches means that fencers lose. A lot. That’s a good thing. In loss we learn to become better, to be humble, and to keep going when it’s tough.
7 – Goal setting
This one is almost obvious, but it’s central to fencing. The structure of the fencing tournament system requires fencers to plan effectively, over time, and then to stick with those plans until they come to fruition. Goal setting in fencing is serious business, but it’s worth it.
8 – Years
Success takes hour after after hour of dedication. Success takes year after year of hard work. There are no shortcuts in life, there is no shortcut to success. Parents are paying for their kids to learn patience and the willingness to keep with a task over time. It’s not going to happen overnight.
9 – Screen freedom
Every parent struggles with balancing screen time in the modern world we live in. Fencing is a screen free activity, one that young people can dive into with wild abandon and passion. Parents pay for fencing lessons to get their kids out of the screen and into the real world.
10 – Bits of pride
It’s the little achievements that give our fencers the most pride. It’s scoring a point. It’s avoiding getting touched by an opponent. It’s winning a round or a match. These little things, these tiny bits of pride in fencing make up a HUGE portion of why we love for our kids to be fencers! They learn to appreciate each and every victory.
Parents aren’t paying for fencing! Yes, this is a sport that can be expensive. It’s a sport that eats up massive amounts of time and energy for both fencers and for their families. But what our kids get out of it is so much more than learning to hold a sword! Fencing is an investment in their children’s future.