The fencing community is small yet mighty; growing, but still a close-knit group. It is rare to walk into a fencing school or competition and get the sensation that there is dissent among competitors, and this is for good reasons. We all recognize that we are a part of the same community and support each other, even if we aren’t from the same school – or even the same country. It is this type of camaraderie that we hope to continue to foster over the years.
You Have No Enemies
You have to start with your own mindset. Your opponent is not your enemy. He is another human being with goals much like your own. Sure, people will cheer for their classmate or family member, but neither opponent is ever marked the “good guy” versus the “bad guy.” At the end of the day, you’ll shake hands and walk away from the strip knowing you were both able to learn from each other.
The same goes for your preconceived notions of how things “should go” during a bout. What happens isn’t so much about your opponent as it is going with the flow. Take your emotions out of the equation and simply use your skillful techniques. You’ll feel a lot better about what you accomplish than you would have if you had focused on your feelings towards your opponent.
Learning to Be a Gracious Opponent
Don’t be shy when it comes to getting to know your opponents. You are, after all, only going to be fighting for a few minutes. Hopefully you’ll spend the rest of your time as friends. Take a few minutes to introduce yourself to both your opponent and his coach. Be gracious and wish him well. You are both going to step onto the strip and do your best, but you are not out to get each other.
Thank your opponent and the coach again after the match, once you are off the strip and have a chance to talk. Whether you win or lose, you still had an opportunity to grow and you will ultimately be walking away from another great learning experience.
Putting Your Best Foot Forward in the Stands
Never, ever engage in trash talk, whether you’re on the strip (where you’ll likely earn a card) or in the stands. Do not make rude gestures, either. Cheer for your favorite opponent, but not against the one you aren’t favoring. Do your best to keep things positive at all times.
Was the guy sitting next to you cheering for the opposite opponent? Shake hands at the end of the match, whether your favorite won or lost. You’re all there to have fun, no matter what the outcome.
Ready to give fencing a try? Silver Sword Academy welcomes new students every term. Contact us today to learn more about registering!