Your At-Home Guide to Helping Your Kid Fence Better

Swordplay LA can help your kids practice for fencing at home

Has your young child been fencing for a while, enjoys the sport, but struggles to keep up with other students?

Many parents have been in your shoes, and just like you, they’ve looked for ways to help their kids practice fencing at home so they can perform well at the club. You’re probably wondering if there are any drills or fencing games you can borrow from your child’s instructor. Even though it’s completely understandable that you’d want to do that, it’s not the best idea.

If your child is a beginner, the best thing you can do is get them involved in fencing-related exercises and activities that will lay the foundation for future improvements and a deeper passion for the sport. That approach will help them become healthier people and better fencers who are always eager to learn more.

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How To Become a Better Fencer with 3 Mental Skills

You already know that physical practice is key to becoming a competent fencer. But did you know that you need to develop a strong mental game too?

Each fencer begins their journey to excellence at different points. But no matter where you start, improving your game requires developing physical and mental agility. Developing both not only hones your technique but turns you into a tactically superior fencer, and therefore a much tougher opponent.

Private fencing lessons and classes hone your physical game, but your mental game is a different story. It’s completely on you, but that’s where this article comes in: We’re going to discuss the mental skills you need to develop a masterful fencing game. These tools can help you prepare to fence, become mentally agile as you’re fencing, and learn from all your bouts so you can keep growing.

Let’s get started!

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How to Maintain Your Fencing Gear: The Lamé

foil and sabre lamé maintenance

Let’s talk about every competitive fencer’s nightmare.

You’ve gone through the trouble of preparing for today’s tournament. You’ve taken a few lessons this week, fenced nearly each day, and you got a good amount of sleep last night. You’ve packed plenty of water, fruit, energy bars, possibly a sandwich. You have extra weapons, you have the under armor, and you remembered to wear pants today! Everything’s looking good when you arrive at the venue.

And then you bring your lamé up to the officials.

They tell you it’s unusable. There are too many dead spots, it has resistance problems, maybe it’s suffered some physical damage. Even worse, there’s no vendor and no extra lamé lying around. Looks like you get to go home early today.

Naturally, you want to avoid this nightmare. To that end, it’s time to learn how to repair your lamé and keep these problems from happening with proper maintenance.

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The 4 Secrets to Getting a Fencing Scholarship

Did you know that many fencing scholarships go unused each year?

That’s true across differently sized universities, but it’s especially true for small schools with fencing programs that are just trying to fill their rosters. While not all of these scholarships will be full rides, they’re still worth a look. It’s definitely better than relying on student loans!

But if you’re interested in getting a fencing scholarship, you’ll need to build connections with coaches. Networking with college fencing coaches is critical to getting a fencing scholarship. And the good news is that you don’t have to be a nationally ranked fencer to build those connections. Even regional and local competitors can get a fencing scholarship if they meet the right coach.

There are four stages to networking with coaches so you can land a fencing scholarship: doing your homework, introducing yourself, meeting the coach, and demonstrating your commitment.

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The Family that Fences Together Stays Together

You know what really brings a family together? Stabbing each other with metal rods, also known as the sport of fencing.

Sean and Ethan taking a private lesson with Tim Weske, owner of Swordplay LA.

Whether you or your kids have fenced before or any of you are new to the sport, taking fencing lessons together is a worthwhile family activity. It provides opportunities for you to bond with your kids, and you’ll get to see them mature and grow because of the sport.

To prove that point, we sat down with one of our Swordplay LA parents, Sean Upchurch, and talked to him about the lessons he takes with his son. Read on to learn how fencing has benefited their father-son relationship and how it can do the same for you.

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How to Maintain Your Fencing Gear: Épée and Sabre

Épées and sabres are deceptive.

Not that they’re trying to trick you (duh). They’re deceptive in that diagnosing their technical problems can be tricky. Unlike in foil, épée and sabre don’t have the advantage of an off-target light to indicate that something’s gone wrong. You’re just as likely to think you missed that touch because of bad luck as you are to suspect some kind of technical problem.

These weapons’ problems are also trickier to identify because they’re wired differently from a foil, as you learned from our very first article on gear maintenance. That’s why épéeists and sabreists get their very own article dedicated to diagnosing and fixing these weapons’ most common issues.

Let’s talk about épée first.

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2 Proven Methods for Building Fencing Endurance

endurance training for fencing

Think back to the first time you ever fenced, even if it wasn’t that long ago. You were completely out of breath by the end of it, but your instructor wasn’t. Now ask yourself a question: Have you gotten any better?

Not skill-wise, rather in terms of your endurance. Are you able to fence more bouts than you were on day one? Are you able to breathe at a more normal rate after your fencing bouts? Or does it still feel like your very first day?

Building endurance for fencing bouts takes work, just like any other aspect of the sport. And today, we’re going to discuss the secret to building endurance for fencing. Once you take this advice, you’ll be able to fence more bouts, fence longer bouts, and breathe a little bit more easily by the end of your fencing sessions.

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Keep or Trade? 7 Ways to Get More From Your Fencing Coach

Do you need a new coach?

Are you getting the most from your fencing coach?

The answer depends on two things. It partially hinges on the coach. Having a knowledgeable fencing coach who you get along with is crucial. But it also depends on you: How you engage with your coach during your lessons determines what you get from them.

And if you’re not getting the most out of your fencing coach, what’s the answer? Do you get a new one or change the way you do things?

Swordplay LA is here to help you answer that question. We’re going to talk about what you can do to strengthen your coach-student relationship — which will mean more winning and learning — and what to look for when hunting for a new coach.

Let’s start with what you can do.

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How to Maintain Your Fencing Gear: The Foil

You can’t find anything wrong with your body cord: There aren’t any breaks in the cable, no overly-compressed pins rattling in the socket receivers, and no cold solder joint on the A clip. Yet you still get that irritating off-target light on blade contact. That means something is loose in the weapon between the tip and the guard, possibly in multiple places.

Whenever your foil has a technical problem, the off-target light fires on blade contact because the circuit in the foil is broken for more than 15 milliseconds. The boxes neither know nor care where or why the break occurs — could be a properly depressed tip on a hit, could be something loose — it sees the break and the off-target light fires.

Without further delay, let’s dive into some of the intricacies of foil repair with plenty of how-to videos!

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6 Fencing Life Lessons For Job Hunting And Adulting

Have you ever paused to consider whether the fencing aphorisms your coach mutters also apply to life? Well, they do. Fencing teaches several crucial life lessons, such as:

  • Don’t underestimate women, old people, or fourteen year old girls.
  • When in doubt, go for the jugular.
  • Lefties are evil.

But seriously, when you’ve been on the piste long enough, you’ll pick up lessons that will help you get through adult life. Whether that means landing a good job or thriving as an adult, fencing can prepare you for it.

We encourage you to reflect on what fencing has taught you about life, but here are seven lessons to get you started.

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