I would like to talk at this time about motivation and fencing. This is an important subject for all fencers and should seriously be considered. We all have our own reasons for taking up fencing in the first place. For some we have seen something in the media and thought it would be cool to be able to do it. For some we have been influenced by friends and family who fence and have decided to fence ourselves. For others we were looking for a pastime that would last a long time, and for others it is a simple search for the secrets of swordplay in all its forms. What ever your reason for learning to fence in the first place, it will become a factor in your motivation to continue.
Your fencing instructor or teacher will attempt to keep you motivated by introducing new skills for you to learn and encouraging you, but when it comes down to it, the motivation must become internalised if you want to really get anywhere. You need to decide where your fencing sits in your priorities and this will decide how much energy you will be willing to put in.
Do your lessons end at the end of your training session, or do you do extra research? Do you practice alone at home in order to improve your skill at and understanding of the things you have learnt at the lesson? Do you do extra research into things related to fencing in order to understand more of what is out there? All of these things relate to personal motivation. If you are truly motivated, you should have answered "Yes" to all of the questions. If you really want to succeed in fencing these things are the key and they require motivation on your part. Your teacher will have information about these things and can give you direction, but in the end it is up to you.
Personal motivation in fencing is expressed not only in seeking the things which I have mentioned above but also in simple things. Simple things such as turning up to your practice before it starts in order that you are prepared to go when the practice starts, making sure that all of your equipment is present at the training session, making sure that all of your equipment is in good working order, finally, and a big one is being at the training session and being prepared and interested in learning. All of these things express a level of personal motivation and it will be noticed by your teacher.
Your teacher will attempt to supply some motivation to you by attempting to keep the training sessions interesting and encouraging you when you do well. This support is much easier to give where the student is personally motivated also. Where the students are less motivated, the teacher is less likely to give extra information and classes as in many ways the teacher's interest in teaching the students is dependent on their interest in learning. If there is no interest, why should the teacher bother? If you want interesting lessons where you can get the maximum benefit you must understand that your interest is one of the keys to this. If you turn up late, don't have the right equipment, show little interest, distract other students, or similar things, the teacher will notice. This will affect what sort of classes you will get, especially in the future.
Your success in fencing is up to you. You do the work. You learn the skills. You fight the bouts. You put the skills into practice. There is only so much that the teacher can do. So, what happens if the teacher is unavailable for a training session? Do you go home? Do you find something else to do? Or do you go out an practice the skills that you have already learnt with other students in order to improve them? This is a choice and displays personal motivation, or a lack of it. The teacher should not have to be there for you to do drills in things that you have already learnt. Getting other students out on the field and practicing skills with them demonstrates interest and motivation on your part and will be noticed by the teacher. You need to consider what you are doing in order to further your fencing career.
In the end, success in fencing requires personal motivation. Your teacher can teach you the skills and give you the information, but it is you who puts them into practice. You need to be willing to put in the effort if you want to get anywhere with any form of fencing. Drills can be boring, but in the end the benefits will show. Go out seek information, seek new skills, improve the ones you already have, but remember in the end it is all up to you.
Did you enjoy this post? Would you like to see it in a book format? I am in the process of putting a selection of my blogs into a book entitled Un-blogged: A Fencer's Ramblings. If you would like to assist me in producing this book and others of a historical fencing nature please donate here: