What is it about fencing?
Sword fighting or fencing is essentially a game of high speed chess with muscles. I have found that as I meet fencers young and old, once you are a fencer, you are always a fencer. You form a special bond with other fencers and sword fighters, they become your lifelong tribe.
Fencing is a sport, it is an art and it is a science all wrapped into an intense intoxicating game.
It becomes a part of who you are. Fencing is unique in that it is a group of very diverse athletes that learn and play a very complicated game. The game takes a long time to learn and to become a good fighter. It takes a person who likes intense competition and the willingness to train through pain.
The fencer find himself (or herself) in a combat environment doing problem solving at high speeds while his opponent or opponents are trying to kill him. This creates a sport and trains human beings to do very interesting and amazing things. Did I mention that it is highly intoxicating and addicting?!
Sword fighting requires rapid adaptation, quick assessment of many scenarios, learning to think 3-4 steps ahead, learning to take calculated risk and learning how to deal with the anxiety of that risk.
Fencing creates a great and lifelong fighter. But, before you can become a great fighter, you must become a good loser. The fencer will experience many losses before he or she experience much victory. The challenge is to continually learn from your losses. Analyze your loss, learn from it, improve, then move on.
There are three sports that academic institutions and colleges look highly upon because they have a reputation for creating great students: squash, rowing and fencing.
To emphasize these points, Carl Borack did a great job interviewing and creating the following video with Olympic Level Fencers. Though the the style of sword fighting/fencing we incorporate in our group is more of a freestyle “street wise” form of HEMA (Historical European Martial Arts) the video below accurately portrays the mindset of the fencer.
Let me know what you think . . .