Training and first competition of 2024

Training and first competition of 2024

Hey everyone! The off season is finished and we’re back up to full speed on training and competing.

Training started with 3 days a week of fencing lessons, 3 days a week of strength and conditioning, and 2 days a week of ballroom dance! A pretty unconventional training schedule for a fencer but an important system for an athlete’s overall health and long term improvement. The fencing lessons primarily focus on getting good at the bread and butter moves done at competition level speeds. The best comparison is to free throws in basketball. You can do everything right but if you’re missing free throws you’re just giving away points. So we’re trying to get my accuracy on unopposed shots and single action shots into the high 90% for this season. Last season there were soooo many times I did everything right and then missed the shot two or three times in the same match.

Strength and conditioning for fencing is unique compared to other sports and specifically American fencers. Different countries have different styles and the American style is very athletic and relies on explosive speed a lot. Additionally there’s a concept of reducing the amount of moves available to your opponent which is important when newer fencers go against more experienced ones. If newer fencers take tight and fast lines, it prevents their opponent from doing longer set ups with combinations they haven’t seen before.

Lastly my training program involves ballroom dance such as waltz, salsa, bachata, and others. This keeps things fun and interesting and the footwork and core engagement is actually harder than fencing, so when I compete in able bodied matches my footwork is well developed.

So after a short offseason and with the first month of heavy training under my belt, our first competition rolled around in Charlotte, North Carolina. I competed in Epee and Saber and the results were good! I didn’t peak for it since national points aren’t calculated in our qualification for Paris, but treated it like a chance to get a lot of good practice in. I had an average performance in pools, where everyone fences everyone else twice, and good performances in direct eliminations, where rankings and medals are determined. I took 3rd in saber and 5th in epee, and figured out an important change to how I line up which made my first moves much harder to predict.

It’s a good start to the season and I’m looking forward to more!