How To Become a Better Fencer with 3 Mental Skills

You already know that physical practice is key to becoming a competent fencer. But did you know that you need to develop a strong mental game too?

Each fencer begins their journey to excellence at different points. But no matter where you start, improving your game requires developing physical and mental agility. Developing both not only hones your technique but turns you into a tactically superior fencer, and therefore a much tougher opponent.

Private fencing lessons and classes hone your physical game, but your mental game is a different story. It’s completely on you, but that’s where this article comes in: We’re going to discuss the mental skills you need to develop a masterful fencing game. These tools can help you prepare to fence, become mentally agile as you’re fencing, and learn from all your bouts so you can keep growing.

Let’s get started!

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How to Maintain Your Fencing Gear: The Lamé

foil and sabre lamé maintenance

Let’s talk about every competitive fencer’s nightmare.

You’ve gone through the trouble of preparing for today’s tournament. You’ve taken a few lessons this week, fenced nearly each day, and you got a good amount of sleep last night. You’ve packed plenty of water, fruit, energy bars, possibly a sandwich. You have extra weapons, you have the under armor, and you remembered to wear pants today! Everything’s looking good when you arrive at the venue.

And then you bring your lamé up to the officials.

They tell you it’s unusable. There are too many dead spots, it has resistance problems, maybe it’s suffered some physical damage. Even worse, there’s no vendor and no extra lamé lying around. Looks like you get to go home early today.

Naturally, you want to avoid this nightmare. To that end, it’s time to learn how to repair your lamé and keep these problems from happening with proper maintenance.

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The 4 Secrets to Getting a Fencing Scholarship

Did you know that many fencing scholarships go unused each year?

That’s true across differently sized universities, but it’s especially true for small schools with fencing programs that are just trying to fill their rosters. While not all of these scholarships will be full rides, they’re still worth a look. It’s definitely better than relying on student loans!

But if you’re interested in getting a fencing scholarship, you’ll need to build connections with coaches. Networking with college fencing coaches is critical to getting a fencing scholarship. And the good news is that you don’t have to be a nationally ranked fencer to build those connections. Even regional and local competitors can get a fencing scholarship if they meet the right coach.

There are four stages to networking with coaches so you can land a fencing scholarship: doing your homework, introducing yourself, meeting the coach, and demonstrating your commitment.

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The Family that Fences Together Stays Together

You know what really brings a family together? Stabbing each other with metal rods, also known as the sport of fencing.

Sean and Ethan taking a private lesson with Tim Weske, owner of Swordplay LA.

Whether you or your kids have fenced before or any of you are new to the sport, taking fencing lessons together is a worthwhile family activity. It provides opportunities for you to bond with your kids, and you’ll get to see them mature and grow because of the sport.

To prove that point, we sat down with one of our Swordplay LA parents, Sean Upchurch, and talked to him about the lessons he takes with his son. Read on to learn how fencing has benefited their father-son relationship and how it can do the same for you.

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How to Maintain Your Fencing Gear: Épée and Sabre

Épées and sabres are deceptive.

Not that they’re trying to trick you (duh). They’re deceptive in that diagnosing their technical problems can be tricky. Unlike in foil, épée and sabre don’t have the advantage of an off-target light to indicate that something’s gone wrong. You’re just as likely to think you missed that touch because of bad luck as you are to suspect some kind of technical problem.

These weapons’ problems are also trickier to identify because they’re wired differently from a foil, as you learned from our very first article on gear maintenance. That’s why épéeists and sabreists get their very own article dedicated to diagnosing and fixing these weapons’ most common issues.

Let’s talk about épée first.

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2 Proven Methods for Building Fencing Endurance

endurance training for fencing

Think back to the first time you ever fenced, even if it wasn’t that long ago. You were completely out of breath by the end of it, but your instructor wasn’t. Now ask yourself a question: Have you gotten any better?

Not skill-wise, rather in terms of your endurance. Are you able to fence more bouts than you were on day one? Are you able to breathe at a more normal rate after your fencing bouts? Or does it still feel like your very first day?

Building endurance for fencing bouts takes work, just like any other aspect of the sport. And today, we’re going to discuss the secret to building endurance for fencing. Once you take this advice, you’ll be able to fence more bouts, fence longer bouts, and breathe a little bit more easily by the end of your fencing sessions.

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How to Maintain Your Fencing Gear: The Foil

You can’t find anything wrong with your body cord: There aren’t any breaks in the cable, no overly-compressed pins rattling in the socket receivers, and no cold solder joint on the A clip. Yet you still get that irritating off-target light on blade contact. That means something is loose in the weapon between the tip and the guard, possibly in multiple places.

Whenever your foil has a technical problem, the off-target light fires on blade contact because the circuit in the foil is broken for more than 15 milliseconds. The boxes neither know nor care where or why the break occurs — could be a properly depressed tip on a hit, could be something loose — it sees the break and the off-target light fires.

Without further delay, let’s dive into some of the intricacies of foil repair with plenty of how-to videos!

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6 Fencing Life Lessons For Job Hunting And Adulting

Have you ever paused to consider whether the fencing aphorisms your coach mutters also apply to life? Well, they do. Fencing teaches several crucial life lessons, such as:

  • Don’t underestimate women, old people, or fourteen year old girls.
  • When in doubt, go for the jugular.
  • Lefties are evil.

But seriously, when you’ve been on the piste long enough, you’ll pick up lessons that will help you get through adult life. Whether that means landing a good job or thriving as an adult, fencing can prepare you for it.

We encourage you to reflect on what fencing has taught you about life, but here are seven lessons to get you started.

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Fencing Your Way Into College: The Essentials

Whether you’ve reached your junior or senior year of high school, you’ve probably started thinking about college (or maybe you’re just a really ambitious underclassman). Whichever group you fall into, you’ve given some thought to which university you want to attend. You’ve probably thought about your major, too. And even though you haven’t made any definite decisions, one thing is certain: You’ve been fencing for some time and you want to take advantage of that in your college application.

While we definitely recommend boasting about your fencing experience, you need to be strategic. Like any other part of your college application, leveraging fencing to get into a good university isn’t as simple as waving a magic wand. You need to evaluate your fencing goals before including it on your college application.

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How to Maintain Your Fencing Gear: The Body Cord

You’re getting ready for a fencing bout: You hold the body cord as you put on the jacket, put on the lamé, you hook up to the reel box, and you’re ready to fence. But as you lift your arm to test your opponent’s gear, the box shows an off target touch. Or maybe your opponent’s light registered off target when they tested your lamé — or there was no light at all, if you’re a sabre fencer — but you know that it doesn’t have any dead spots.

You test every other weapon in your bag, but the same problem keeps arising. Then you use a different body cord, and everything starts working. You correctly conclude that something’s wrong with the first body cord, but what’s the problem and how do you fix it?

Welcome to the second installment of our fencing gear maintenance series, where we discuss how to fix some common technical difficulties that fencers encounter with their gear. Today, we’re focusing on the piece of equipment that most often gives fencers grief: body cords. We’ll look at some of their most common problems, why they occur, and show you how to fix them.

If you haven’t read part one yet, go do that. It has crucial background information. If you’ve already read it, let’s get started!

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