Why is it fun? It inspires kids’ imaginations. It’s not hard to imagine that your opponent is Darth Vader and you are Luke Skywalker. When your children do this in the house and break an antique lamp, you discourage this behavior. But at a fencing class, we can encourage this behavior in an ideal setting where they can live out their dreams and have a tremendous amount of fun.
Fencing is for everyone
Unlike most other sports, there is no ideal body type for a fencer. How can that be? Winning at fencing is a combination of many things: the mind of a chess player (watching for your opponent’s openings), the face of a poker player (bluffing your opponent), the flexibility of a gymnast (good for lunging), the hand-eye coordination of a calligrapher (Zorro would not be able to Z without it), and the endurance of a marathoner (to win a tournament with over 100 competitors). No child, or adult for that matter, is going to come into fencing with all of these different attributes.
When you visit a club and look around at our members, they are all different ages, sizes, and body types. Successful fencers will find a way to win no matter their body type. Through our member clubs we train each fencer with techniques to complement their strengths and supplement their weaknesses. Ultimately, if your child sticks with fencing, they will find a way to make their body type work to their advantage.
Imagine standing there when a person suddenly moves quickly toward you with a sword pointed at you. What do you do? Tell your feet to move backwards, your hand to move your sword to block theirs, tell your mind to stop racing and think what you are going to do if you stop this attack.
As a fencer, you will need to have the self-control to tell your body to handle these three different actions at one time. Compare this with other sports that have you just try to kick or hit the ball. The strategy and self-control is an afterthought. In fencing, self-control and body-control are what keep you from getting hit.
By fencing, your child will gain greater self-control and increase concentration. Soon enough, this self-control will begin to extend to other aspects of their life.
Each bout that your child fences start in the same way: with a respectful salute of the sword to his opponent, to the referee, and to the audience.
When fencing without referees, fencers are trained to acknowledge their opponents touches and often times even with referee, fencers will acknowledge an opponents touch. Imagine in many team sports like softball or baseball, if the 1st baseman said to the umpire, “he was safe.” Or, imagine in football if a defensive player spoke up, “my opponents’ feet were in bounds and their touchdown should count.” While a rarity in most sports, this is commonplace in fencing and encouraged behavior at our clubs.
At the end of the bout, there is a required handshake among opponents. Winning and losing gracefully is not only encouraged, it is expected, along with maintaining respect for the fencers and the referees.
Fencing is a sanctuary of civility and fencers for centuries have acknowledged the successes of their opponents. This level of civility goes a long way into making fencing a more respectful sport than most.
Socialization is an important element of life. If your child takes a fencing class, they will likely take this class with children from a different school or perhaps a home school. By learning to meet new kids, your child will learn to interact with others.
There is general camaraderie at tournaments among fencers who see each other again and again. Fencers soon learn that it is advantageous to win and lose gracefully to continue to keep your opponents as friends.
As parents and children, fencing affords the opportunity to travel to various tournaments. Experienced fencers travel to local, regional, and national tournaments. While we can not promise that all fencing tournaments will be in ideal destinations, fencing offers the opportunity to visit new places and meet new people from across the country. Some parents have found that fencing tournaments have afforded them the opportunity (or excuse) to get away, that they might not have had.