What is Fencing?
Interested in the sport but don't know what it is all about?
Read on for what the sport is all about, how you can get involved or just how to watch if you see it on television
A good fencing match is a high-intensity combination of combat and ballet. The combatants push each other up and down a 14m strip with light flashing off their blades as they thrust, parry, attack and evade. While nobody jumps over rocks or retreats up stairs a la the Princess Bride, there is a great, dynamic aspect to the sport.
Fencing is a life-long sport that welcomes swashbucklers of all ages. You can learn it when you're young, or when you're young at heart. While most sports only reward speed or power, fencing lets you choose whether you are going to win by using your speed, or using your guile - which allows the parents to teach their children a thing or two while the children do the same to us.
For children especially the benefits of fencing go deep. By learning to fence a child learns self discipline, respect for others, independence and the importance of honesty and fair play. Such skills are transferable to any endeavour and help to create a well rounded and active person.
The social rewards of fencing should not be overlooked either. Club members often become friends and competitors find themselves meeting hundreds of people over the years as they travel to competitions locally, nationally, and internationally.
Finally, should all of the above fall to the wayside, fencing is always fun! Fantastic in bridging gaps between sexes, sizes, ethnicity and personality (as is seen when the young or elderly defeat an opponent with technique and timing when confronted with brawn and bulk!). Fencing is a great solution to balancing a person's mind, body and spirit in order to temper success!
The first modern Olympic games featured foil and sabre fencing for men only. épée was introduced in 1900. Single stick was featured in the 1904 games. Epée was electrified in the 1936 games, foil in 1956, and sabre in 1988. Early Olympic games featured events for Masters, and until recently fencing was the only Olympic sport that has included professionals.
Women's foil was first contested in the 1924 Olympic games, and Women's epée was only contested for the first time in 1996, although it has been part of the World Championships since 1989. Women's sabre made its first appearance in the 1998 World Championships as a demonstration sport, it became part of the Olympics in 2004.
What Makes Fencing a Good Sport?
Many people who are reluctant to take part in team games enjoy the individuality of fencing. Success in competition will be due solely to their own efforts: matching their own skill, speed and intellect against those of an opponent; female competing equally with male.
Some enjoy the aesthetic pleasure of perfecting and performing disciplined movements correctly and studying the theory and language of fencing for Achievement Awards and Duke of Edinburgh Awards.
Regular fencing training provides an interesting aid to improved co-ordination and general fitness suitable for people of all ages. Fencing is an all-year-round activity: ideal for the wet, cold days of winter when outdoor sports are not so popular.
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