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Be de-fence-ive

Posted on March 30, 2015 at 9:20 PM

 

Not many people really think about fencing anymore, except in movies and books. Despite being an Olympic sport, fencing has fallen off of the radar for athletes. However, it is still just as much a sport as football or track, and probably just as exerting. Swinging the sword is a lot more work than it looks like, and it is really fun too.

The most difficult part of fencing is that it is not only strenuous on the body, but also on the mind. You have to constantly be anticipating your opponent’s moves, while calculating your own strategy, and be able to change it swiftly if you were wrong about your opponent. All of that thinking and planning you have to do within seconds, and you also have to be able to focus on the physical aspects as well. The physical aspects may not be as difficult as the mental, but they can still be challenging. A heavy jacket that is very warm is worn while you practice. Fencers also wear a fencing glove in order to protect their hands and wrists. On top of all that, the fencer must wear a mask, which slightly obscures vision and is very, very warm. All this equipment is not very heavy, but because it is so thick, it is easy to become over-heated, so it is important to stay hydrated. Even indoors in the air conditioning, the athletes are usually quite warm. Fencers must be able to move quickly and move a certain way, with their weight evenly distributed. The sword is not heavy, or particularly long, but must be moved quickly and properly in order to gain points.

Fencing takes place on 45 foot long area called the strip. This is where the two fencers “bout” each other. A bout is one round between two fencers. Fencing is a contact sport; oponents gain points by hitting the other person in the stomach and chest with the foil, or sword. It is an exciting sport that is mentally and physically engaging.

 


 

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