How do you learn fencing? Every coach has a different opinion on how to improve, but there are four main ways how to learn fencing: lessons, classes, bouting and tournaments.
Private lessons with a coach develop your tactical and technical abilities in an intense, focused way. A coach can shape every aspect of your technical skills — things like the speed of your lunge, the angle of your wrist and the way you move your feet.
Coaches also teach you how to think tactically and outsmart your opponent. As you improve, you’ll discover that winning a bout has more and more to do with strategy than speed or technical skill.
Organized classes provide a different set of benefits. Like lessons, they help with technique and tactics. While class coaches offer less individualized attention, classes give participants more time to practice the skills they’re working on.
Classes also help with the physical aspect of fencing. Tournaments physically exhaust competitors. Classes last an hour or more, and provide great endurance training. Consistently attending classes over time will help with every aspect of fencing: technical, tactical, and physical.
You can’t hope to improve as a fencer without fencing. Strategically and physically, there’s no substitute to having an opponent in front of you.
It’s important to remember, though, that bouting does little to help your technique. You can practice individual actions in a bout, but you’ll have too much on your mind to focus on technical skill.
Besides providing results, attending tournaments provides the best practice for future tournaments.
The best payoff of going to tournaments is mental. As Ali said, “The fight is won or lost far away from witnesses – behind the lines, in the gym, and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights.” Fencing is a psychological sport too, and competition is mentally taxing. The best way to train your mind is to work it like a muscle.
Do you have any questions about how to learn fencing? Ask us in the comments.
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