There is a time in each person's fencing career when they need to take a hold of their own training. What this means is that the fencer needs to take hold of the direction in which the training goes. This blog is designed to address this particular concept and present some ideas about how each fencer can take a hold of their own training and thus push it in a direction which interests them.
The first thing that each fencer needs to realise is that training is actually a very personal thing and that the fencer is the real person who gets benefit out of training. Sure, the teacher or coach may get some satisfaction out of the progress made by the student, but in the end it is really up to the student. This is the most important thing and the reason why eventually each fencer needs to take ownership of their own training and give it some personal direction.
To begin with the teacher supplies the direction because the fencer does not understand those skills that he or she will require. In this particular element the teacher will supply the basic elements of training and through such the basic skills which are required of the fencer. Once these basics have been learnt then the fencer needs to have some idea about where they want to go after the basics. The new direction will always be based on the basic skills which the fencer has learnt, but will tend to go in a direction different and more personal than previously.
There are many different directions that the training can go once the basics have been learnt. For the more Renaissance oriented fencer there is the question of whether a particular school or nationality will be the focus. Or the fencer may focus toward a particular skill-set or weapon combination. Or the fencer may even decide that a particular manual may be their focus. Each one of these gives different options for the fencer and gives a slightly different direction. The important thing in this particular situation is that the fencer has to choose the direction. The teacher may suggest or encourage, but in the end it is the fencer's decision.
For the fencer who is primarily training alone the taking a hold of training has to happen a lot sooner. Firstly this is because it is only the fencer who can really motivate himself in order to do the training in the first place. In this particular situation there really is no teacher or coach that can give the direction for the fencer. Other teachers or fencers may supply suggestions, but in the end it is all up to the fencer. In this particular situation the fencer needs to decide where he is going and what to work on next as there is no one else to supply the plan of where to go.
In order to continue to progress the fencer requires some sort of direction. Even if that direction is merely to improve the skills that he has already, still this is a direction. The best direction for a fencer to go in is one which the fencer is self-motivated to go in. The teacher can supply ideas and encouragement, but in the end the fencer must make the decision and then stick to it. This requires the fencer to have the motivation to start and continue along their chosen path.
In the end the fencer must choose the direction in which they want to go. The fencer should get some ideas about what options are open to them from various sources. These ideas can be based on a particular direction based on a specific text, general improvement or at a specific goal that the fencer wants to achieve. The fencer should take the time to put the suggestions on paper in order to compare them. This way there will b a clear idea about the choices open to them. Once the fencer has an idea about where he wants to go it is time to plan.
It is necessary to plan the direction that wants to be taken. If there is no plan made of the direction it is difficult to see any sort of improvement. It is also difficult to see what end result is planned and whether the fencer has deviated from the direction chosen. The plan is what will keep the fencer striving toward their goal and also having some idea about where that is.
In choosing this direction for training it is a good idea to get some help and advice. This should preferably be from your teacher. There are others who can supply some ideas about the direction and the plan to make to get there. People who are on the same path are also useful as they are currently doing it and will have ideas about good things and bad things. The same can be said for people who have travelled in the same direction, experience is very useful in this endeavour.
Some people like to make plans and keep the ideas in their heads or some other loose form. The best idea is to put it on paper. In this way the plan is obvious and presented to the fencer so they can see exactly what they need to do next and what is coming up. Putting the plan on paper also gives it a solid quality. This being said, it is also important that the plan has some ability to be modified if required, some level of flexibility to meet different challenges along the way. Things happen which are not controllable, illnesses and injury will mean that the plan may have to be changed or put on hold for a period, and it is important to take these things into account.
Once the plan has been put on paper it is important to work towards the goal described. It is also important that it is not packed away and then never seen again. The plan should be placed somewhere it is easy to get a hold of it and to examine what is happening and whether the plan needs to be modified. Integrate the plan into normal training this way the plan will be followed by habit rather than being something separate from normal training. It is also important to discuss the plan that has been worked out with your teacher or coach. This way they will know what is going on, what is being worked upon and will be able to help with it. They may also be able to help with it and assist in improving the plan.
In essence, each fencer will come to a situation where they have completed all of the basic training which enables them to fence at a reasonable level. It is at this time that the fencer really needs to take control of their own training. What happens after this will determine the length of their fencing career. If the fencer is clever they will look at many different options and discuss these with various people. In the end the decision is the fencer's and this is of great importance. Remember to plan the direction, put it in some solid form and then work towards it. Don't be afraid to ask for help.