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Benefits of Adult Fencing – Why You Should Give It A Try

We’ve all seen those cool swashbuckling moves in the movies: Zorro, Vikings, Knights, James Bond, etc.  great sword fighting scenes and of course . . . light sabers from the Star Wars series. You might have wondered if it’s too late to give it a try. The answer is no, it’s not too late in fact . . . picking up sword as an adult is one of the best times to start fencing! Many people start fencing after college, mid to late 20’s, 30’s, 40’s, 50’s and through every age group to 90. As an adult you’ll learn quicker and progress faster than most children. Your life experience is an advantage.   Many people return to fencing after college, while establishing careers, during or after raising a family. Many parents started fencing as a way to connect to their child or each other.  It doesn’t matter the timing when you start, fencing will get your mind and body moving in a fun and exciting way.
Photo of Rich Herrera who brought his sons to fence and took up the sword himself

Rick Herrera started fencing to have fun with his two sons, they are both in college and he is competing and winning natiionally.

STRESS RELIEF is one of the phrases we hear frequently from adults who fence. You arrive at the club after an exhausting or stressful day. By the time you leave, you are drenched in sweat, mind clear, stress of the day gone. You’ve become completely immersed in the moment, mind focused –  It’s just not possible to think about other things when someone has a sword in your face and is challenging you!  You’ve had a great work-out, challenged yourself and didn’t even realize it. FUN WORK-OUT. You’ll find yourself looking forward to coming in to fence and won’t think of it as a work out. Fencing is mentally fun and challenging and you don’t realize the incredible work out you get as the time flies by.  You’ll be getting and staying in shape without having to get on a treadmill. You don’t have to be in great athletic shape to start, just have the desire to learn something new and you will progress in fitness and fencing at your own pace. Cheryl Maslen picked up a sword at age 57, she has lost 60 pounds and kept it off, on her way to fencing success. She is in the club frequently and a wonderful part of our community. Read Cheryl Maslen’s inspiring story here. LIFE-LONG sport. Yes, fencing is a life-long sport. There are people in their 80’s and 90’s fencing competitively.

Our Sherry Green wins GOLD with TEAM USA at the veterans World Championships

Fencing keeps your mind alert, active and making critical thinking decisions. Staying healthy is much easier with a sport you look forward to practicing – it’s not a workout its a duel! Every person you fence thinks differently, reacts in their own way which keeps the sport very interesting and every duel unique. Will you get bored? No, actually the better you get at fencing the more you want to learn, practice and duel (called bouting) against different people. There are competition categories for many different age groups.  
photo of group learning footwork

Learn the basics first, great coaches are there for every step

INTERESTING PEOPLE. Yes, you will be meeting very interesting people when you start to fence, from many walks of life. You’ll make new friends usually out of your own social circle, and you’ll have an instant connection in common. In our club, our adult community is encouraging, helpful and a lot of fun. From the quiet introvert to the outspoken, it’s quite a mix. You don’t have to be the physical jock to have equal success in fencing. The thinker who can out strategize has the same odds of success. BRAIN HEALTH. Remember that phrase “use if or lose it?” Learning new skills will keep your brain healthy, active, while the physical activity will help your body, the mental exertion used in fencing  will keep your brain challenged and stimulated. Read this excellent article from The Huffington Post  “Here’s How Picking up a New Skill Can Help Your Brain”. . Having to out-think your opponent will keep you on your toes!
photo of Lynn Yun and Cheryl Maslen at NAC award ceremony

Lynn wins her first North America Cup Medal with teammate Cheryl cheering her on all the way.

With all of that, the number one reason to start fencing as an adult is very simple, It’s fun! Don’t underestimate the enjoyment factor.  “ It’s actually a core need for psychological well-being. Learning can help us build confidence and a sense of self-efficacy. It can also be a way of connecting with others too,’ says Vanessa King, positive psychology expert at Action for Happiness. ‘As human beings, we have a natural  desire to learn and progress. Psychologists call it mastery.’ See this article for King’s more in-depth discussion on the health benefits. . . Keeping yourself interested, enjoying what you are doing is the best way to keep yourself mentally satisfied, happy, life in a happy balance and healthy. Everyone around you will benefit from a happy you.  You deserve it!  
Cheryl Maslen, Lynn Zhang and Kim Taylori-Blakemore , The Sworded Ladies

The Sworded Ladies 2018 Ready for all comers at Summer National Championships

Benefits of Fencing

How to Wash your Lame

Washing your lame (pronounced La-may) correctly will extend the life and use of it. If you use your practice lame daily or several times a week then a monthly washing is a must. There are several fabrications of lames.

Washing your lame is easy

How to wash your lame

For copper or non-stainless steel lames (usually these start to turn greenish with oxidation): you will need to ADD about 1/4 cup of Windex (must contain ammonia-some Windex products do NOT contain ammonia and won’t remove the green oxidation) or 50% white vinegar.

For stainless steel lames (these are usually the more expensive lames) just using Woolite or a mild hand-washing clothing detergent (do not use normal laundry soap).

 

Fill your sink about 1/2 way with lukewarm water. Add the Woolite or mild hand-washing clothing detergent (see bottle for measurement instructions – usually a capful) to the water and mix it well. Take the lame and push it completely underwater. Swirl it around for several minutes. If the non metallic part of the edge of the sleeves is heavily soiled rub and gently scrub that part taking care NOT to rub the metal fabric. If your garment is green with alot of oxidation add the white vinegar (a full gallon) OR Windex, making sure the Windex contains Ammonia. Let the lame soak for about 15 minutes (your water will turn a murky blueish green). Drain, then rinse well, you may need to rinse several times if the water turned very green.

Do NOT wring the water out! The easiest thing is to hang it up on a non-metal hanger in the shower. Turn on the ventilation fan so the air circulates helping the lame to dry faster. Some people will roll the damp lame in a towel to remove alot of the water then hang it up. The faster it dries the less chance of corrosion.

We highly recommend that you always turn your lame inside out after you wear it to let the sweat dry quickly, and hang i up. Do not throw it on the floor or leave it wadded up inside your gear bag. A little care will greatly extend the life of your gear.

How To Articles

When You/your child is fencing a teammate at a competition

Unfortunately it is fairly common that a fencer will end up fencing one or more teammates during a competition. It m

ay happen during the pool round and again in the direct elimination (D.E.) round.

Coach Policy when teammates fence
When two teammates fence one another in competition, the coach will NOT coach either fencer. Instead, they will go to another bout or step away from the match. This is our policy and the policy in the majority of fencing clubs. Our coaches are very interested in the outcome of ALL our fencers. We do not want one teammate to feel a coach favored one fencer over another.

Club Policy for Parents and Supports when teammates fence
We sometimes see parents or friends jump in, assume the role of coach and start strip coaching their child or friend. Please do NOT do this if one teammate is fencing another. For the same reason that our coaches don’t strip coach during a teammates bout, parents and supporters should not be doing the same thing either. You can best help your fencer by watching and enjoying the match. During the one minute break of a direct elimination match ONE person only, can hand the fencer their drink. If you do, please do not give any coaching advice. General comments like “remember to breathe”, “be ready”, or “think about it”,”try your best”, is about all you want to say. It’s best if your fencer has their drink ready and learn to rely on themselves only.

 

NO Cheering AGAINST teammates. Whether you are a parent, sibling, spouse or a friend, cheering one teammate against another is against club policy, even if the fencers are from a different club (if the fencers are teammates at a different club). Cheering against people who are teammates (especially your teammates) bothers both fencers and takes away from a good tournament experience.

Why cheering against teammates is not good
Most fencers cannot hear strangers who cheer for their opponent, but hearing and seeing familiar faces and voices cheering for the opponent is very distracting, can be confusing and can be taken personally.

Cheering teammates on against each other is just bad sportsmanship. Teammates have to train and practice together.

It’s very much like a family. Just like you would not cheer one sibling on against another, we don’t cheer for one teammate against another.

It can be uncomfortable when your child or fencer has to fence a teammate and friend. It’s even more stressful if you are cheering against their friend and teammate. The fencers have to learn how to compete in the club against each other and remain friends. When the fencers are young children, having a friend’s parent or family cheering against them is extremely distracting, causes them to lose focus and wonder why the parent doesn’t like them, they can take it very personally. Trust in them and their training to handle it.

Ultimately the winner will be decided by their own actions, preparation, skill and experience. You’ll be modeling and teaching them valuable life skills about how to treat and value other people. An equally valuable lesson is that you trust they can handle the situation on their own, helping to grow their self confidence.

 

Sportsmanship Articles

How to Wash a Practice Fencing Glove

How to Wash a Fencing Glove
Keeping the glove clean is important! Bacteria builds up from sweaty hands and can make the glove very stinky and cause a rash.

The easiest way to clean it is to throw an inexpensive practice glove into a regular washer- NOT the saber competition glove as that must be hand-washed. Inexpensive practice gloves can go into the washer but NEVER with fencing whites. If you put it in with whites it will most likely turn the whites a shade of the color in the glove. For the more expensive competition saber glove, hand-washing the glove as below is the best way to go:

For a saber FIE tournament glove
1. Mix warm (not hot) water with hand wash detergent like woolite and put the glove in.
2. Wash gently by rubbing with your hands or with a sponge.
3. Rinse well several times and squeeze gently.
4. Gently dab the remaining water with a dry towel. Don’t wring or twist as that will damage and deform the glove.
5. Pull out the fingers to restore the good shape of your glove.
6. Air dry or lay out in the sun with the Velcro open, aiming a fan at it will help it dry faster.

How To Articles