As coaches we often get this question from parents and fencers: When is the right time to start competing? And no matter who is asking, my answer is always the same: Competing is an integral part of the fencing learning process. There are plenty of fencing competitions for all ages and levels. As long as you have the desire to improve your fencing and a strong will to learn, competing can start after a couple of months of training.
This year, we started a new sabre class at our club with young girls and boys, and they participated in their first local competition with one month of training. We prepared them to fence. We prepared them to understand how a tournament works and the importance of respecting their opponents and the referees. We also prepared them to win and lose.
There were tears in most cases, but they all returned to practice the following week with an increased focus on improving. Suddenly, all of the things their coaches were teaching started to make a lot more sense to them because competing in a tournament put everything in context.
Some of them will become fencing champions, but all of them are already champions of learning – and that is one of the most important skills in life.
We have a tradition at SDFC that when a fencer wins a medal, they offer it to their training partners and everybody “grabs” a piece to represent their contribution to their friend’s success.
At SDFC we have a tradition, when a fencers wins a medal they offer it to their training partners and everybody "grabs" a piece to to represent their contribution to their friend success.