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Fencing and History Nut Extraordinaire. While I am tending toward 16th century at the moment, I am and have been interested in history for a long time. Hence the fencing focuses more on the Renaissance period than the modern. This explains two out of three of my blogs. The third is a more personal one focusing on fibromyalgia. What I write in these blogs, I hope will be of use to people.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

What Does Fencing Give the Fencer?


The fencer puts a great deal of effort into training, acquiring the correct equipment and various other aspects if they want to become a better fencer. How much the fencer puts into this is the measure of their dedication to the art. The question that needs to be asked is, after all of the effort put in by the fencer what do they get back from it? This blog will address some of those things that the fencer gets back from doing fencing. Some of these things will be obvious and others will not be so obvious.

In our dollar-emphasised, capitalist, modern society, the question is always what do I get out of this? It is a question that is asked in the workplace and even in social situations. In the workplace it is pretty easy to see, it is perks, benefits, and a regular payday. In the social situation it can be a little blurry, and for the fencer some of the results of the effort put into their fencing can be very difficult to see.

Clearly, some rewards are obvious, these are usually in the form of such things as trophies, accolades, awards and other prizes usually awarded after a tournament or a period of service to fencing. Depending on what sort of fencing and what sort of structure will depend on which apply to you. These things are nice to get but in many cases they are fleeting in nature. The question that needs to be asked is whether there is more than these physical things.

There are some physical aspects that the fencer will gain without having to win any tournament whatsoever. It is these physical aspects which are the most obvious rewards for the fencer. Fencing will, over time, improve the fitness of the fencer. This is especially the case if they are doing it on a regular basis. The simple cardio-vascular activity which goes on inside the body during fencing will improve the health of the fencer. While the health aspects are some which are the most obvious results of fencing, there are some health aspects which are over-looked. Such things as improvement in self-worth due to the acknowledgement of the skills which have been learnt, and the achievement associated with this. Then there are the skills learnt while fencing. These skills have their most obvious application while fencing, but the fencer will also notice other changes due to these skills being learnt. Their movements will be more fluid and more accurate. This actually leads on to the mental aspects as well.

The fencer actually does develop some mental attributes which are not clearly apparent in a short amount of time to the fencer, but these will surface over time. The fencer will begin to look at things from a different point of view. The thinking fencer especially will begin to notice the movements of their opponent and in some instances be able to predict what the opponent will do without thinking about it. This will begin to be apparent in times outside fencing as well. The important thing is that these mental aspects need to be developed while fencing. Problem solving will also be improved, and one that links with the physical aspects is the movements of the body in a thinking manner. The fencer who develops these mental skills will begin to see them appear more and more in daily life and not just in their fencing.

There are also some social aspects which are present as a result of fencing. Many long-term and indeed life-long friendships can be developed due to a mutual interest in fencing. These friends become such not only in the fencing environment, but also outside of it. There are also other social attributes which are developed. Due to the expected performance of the fencer in social situations notions of manners are also developed if the fencer takes the time to acknowledge their importance. This particular aspect increases their ability to deal with people in the wider community as well. Clearly some accolades recieved fencing will also carry over into the social aspect of people's lives, but these are not as regular as the other rewards which have been mentioned.

While the bulk of the rewards for fencing are hidden, they are present. The important thing is that for these things to develop in the fencer, they must put in the effort in order to develop them. The mental aspects will not develop unless the fencer is actually thinking about what they are doing when fencing. The physical aspects will not be developed without some effort put in and some pushes made. The social aspects will not develop unless the fencer takes on the ideals of fencing etiquette and is willing to express these in the correct situation. Without these more hidden prizes for the fencing, there is very little for the fencer to strive for, and it is often due to this that we see fencers drop off. Instant gratification is not what fencing is about in the long run. True gratification in fencing takes time and it takes effort on the part of the fencing. If this effort is put in then the rewards increase and never end.