One of the questions we are frequently asked, especially by new fencers and parents, is whether or not fencing is a dangerous sport. Considering the involvement of weapons, this is a completely legitimate question. We want to address and reassure those with concerns.
The Dangers Associated with Fencing
As you progress, you’re going to find that the dangers associated with fencing are no greater than with any other sport. And that’s it right there — this is a sport. Sports involve physical movement and the occasional injury is par for the course. While we all do our best to train carefully, it’s common to suffer the occasional bruise, strain, or sprain.
You may not even injure yourself during an actual fencing match, but during your cross-training sessions. As a matter of fact, overtraining in general is one of the biggest causes of injury in fencing. Carefully designed training programs, with input from your coaches, will help you to prevent and avoid injuries.
But What About the Weapons?
The swords themselves aren’t really weapons in the truest sense of the word. The intention of fencing as a sport isn’t to hurt or kill anyone, as it may have been hundreds of years ago or during wartimes. The weapons we use in sport are dull and are not designed to causeharm. They’re pliable and bend easily. So while it may hurt or sting a little if you are hit or miss a block, the odds of them causing anything more than a minor bruise are very low.
Risks to Consider
Fencing isn’t so much dangerous as it is risky. Competition excites a lot of people, giving many an adrenaline rush that can impact performance. Some become more aggressive and others jump shy. Either way, the type of rush we experience during tournament isn’t one associated with fear of danger. We’re not, after all, fighting for our lives.
There’s always a little bit of risk involved. Will we not feel well on the day of our bout? Will we make a misstep and lose our footing? Will that new move we’ve been working on turn out as expected? The reality is the more we practice, the lower our risk of mistake and potential injury.
We’re always encouraging our fencers to try new things, and that involves taking risks. We never ask our fencers to purposely put themselves in harms way, creating dangerous situations for themselves and others. Fencing isn’t a dangerous sport, but it’s physically, mentally, and emotionally demanding. That’s part of why we love it so much!