I began fencing in 2003, mostly because I didn’t find that I excelled at any sports that involved a ball. When I was finally handed a sword, I was off to the races. Like many who are enamored with the sport, I trained at various clubs and participated in tournaments for several years.
I also gained skills besides fighting with a sword. I learned about respect, accountability, and perseverance, and I carry those values and others with me on and off the fencing strip.
The goal of fencing is by no means to inflict damage onto the other person, and it would be a dangerous sport if it wasn’t for the rules and rituals of respect that are ingrained into young athletes.
Before every bout, fencers must salute with their sword and acknowledge their opponent, the director, and the audience. By doing so, the fencers make a silent promise to treat one another as human beings and fence honorably and fairly. The salute is also a gesture of gratitude to the audience and the director.
You’ll find that the more your child fences, the more they’ll begin treating others with the same element of respect outside of the fencing club. Rather than being combative or shirking away from them, they’ll meet them on equal ground as a fellow human being.
People often overlook the fact that fencing is predominantly an individual sport. There are teams in fencing, but the participants always compete fencer-to-fencer, one-on-one. That means the success of the team is always the responsibility of fencers as individuals.
That sense of accountability profoundly affected me, because I was immediately able to see if what I was doing was working or not. It immediately kept me from making excuses, because if I was getting hit then I was the only one who could make the change.
And as your child continues fencing and puts the work in, they’ll adopt that attitude, too. They’ll learn to examine their own actions and take responsibility for changing, whether that’s in the fencing club, at school, or at home.
The final value that I’ve found integral to fencing is perseverance. Excelling at fencing involves the same patience and grit that’s required your child tries to learn other new skills.
The techniques involved in fencing can take a long time for beginners to implement. But it’s thrilling once they begin to absorb and successfully execute the moves. Getting to that moment takes patience, focus, and determination — values your child will use to excel in every other area of life.
However, technique is not everything. A fencer also needs passion. Nothing can stop a fencer who has both passion and technique (much like in life). No matter how down a fencer gets in a bout, there’s always hope for them to come back and win.
I hope your children enjoy their journey with fencing! If you haven’t started already, sign them up for a free trial lesson at Swordplay LA. We have all the equipment your child needs to get started and patient fencing instructors who can impart the life values and skills your child needs to excel.