I usually don't do the "list of things you can do to improve your fencing" thing, because I think that it is rather simplistic. I think that my time is better spent focusing on particular elements and focusing on these elements to a greater degree. However, there are some things that people should be aware of that they should keep in mind that will improve their fencing overall. I will go through these things one at a time in a kind of list form, not in order of importance, because they are all important in their own way. Indeed each is necessary for a complete methodology and learning process.
1.1. Group Classes
This is what most people think of when they think of as training. A most-often, structured school-type setting with a senior individual who gives lessons, which goes for a period of time. Where, hopefully, there is warm-up, lesson, bouting and cool-down periods. This may happen once or twice a week. Maybe even more, if the individual is lucky or attends different schools. This form of training is usually administered by a teacher, the student essentially only has to have the motivation to turn up and follow what the teacher says.
If you attend these, at least you will improve gradually, depending on how many classes you attend, and how regularly you attend. It will also depend somewhat on the teacher, the classes, and the other students, as this is the nature of this structured approach. Each one of these things can have a positive or negative impact on your experience, and thus your training.
1.2. Solo Training
I am not talking about having the attention of a teacher to yourself, that is personal training, specialised to your requirements, that is something else and fits in between these categories (a sort of 1.1.5). You are lucky if you can get this sort of training as it can advance your improvement a great deal if you harness it properly. This is also likely to cost you, and quite a bit, unless you are extremely lucky.
If you are one of these lucky people who gets personal training, don't take it for granted.
In regard to solo training, I am talking about the training a person does by themselves. This must be self-motivated because you do it. You need to choose to get out and do it, but the benefits of this sort of training is that you will improve, even if you only focus on the basics. Doing footwork on a patch of grass, or practising your attacks against a target with footwork, are all a great asset; so long as you ensure that you are performing the actions properly. I am a great believer in this sort of practise as an adjunct to any sort of other training, and for maintaining skill where you cannot engage with other people.
This form of training is most important where a person cannot make it to classes for one reason or another. Maybe the student has moved away from where their regular classes are held. Maybe they have lost their regular means of transport. Maybe there is some external reason that training cannot occur. It should not stop the dedicated fencer's training. Practise footwork, practise your thrusts, parries and other actions. You can find ways around most problems, and find useful tools around you. I have written a previous post on this subject of solo training, focused on doing it all alone, you can find it here. I was in this situation before, it is hard, but very rewarding in the end.
5. Accept Criticism
Where something does not work, it needs to be fixed. Some people might even offer suggestions about how you might improve aspects of your fencing, and this will come across as criticism. Accept the criticism, take it in, learn from it. It may be valid, it may not be valid. Until you examine the criticism, you won't know. If you go blindly along ignoring all criticism you will not improve, and you will miss the chance for some useful advice along the way.
There will also be those which will criticise any time they get the chance. Often these individuals also have no solutions to go with their criticism and the only reason they are presenting the criticism is because they believe they have some sort of right to be heard. Examine all criticism in the same light, examine it rationally and see whether it is based on evidence or not; where it is you can use it to your advantage and improve; where it is not, you know you can ignore it and not be concerned, understanding that there are some who are only happy when they are complaining about something.
Broad Terms, Lots Present
So, some ways to improve your fencing have been presented. Each one is important in its own way. Each one will allow you to grow as a fencer, but each will require some truthful examination and dedication on your part. Take the time, think about ways that you can improve yourself as a fencer. Plan out some ideas how you can utilise aspects which have been presented here, and others that you may come up with. I hope that this helps.