Fencing and Its Benefits

With Amita Berthier rising to World No.2 in junior foil rankings, the popularity of fencing in Singapore is reaching new heights. There are also now a lot of fencing schools around the country like Z Fencing and Modern Fencing Academy. However, still, not many people are familiar with the sport. So let’s get to know fencing and the benefits it can give us.

Getting to know fencing
Fencing is a group of three different disciplines namely: foil, épée, and sabre. Fencing is categorized into these three combat sports all with points being awarded by successfully touching an opponent with the weapon.

Weapons:
• Foil (max weight – 500 grams): targets the torso; points are awarded only with touches from the tip of the weapon.
• Épée (max weight – 775 grams): the entire body is a valid target; just like in foil, touches are scored with the tip.
• Sabre (max weight – 500 grams): entire body above the waist is a valid target; points are awarded with touches from both the side and tip, basically the entire blade.

Complete physical workout
Fencing can be considered a full-body workout as you literally will have to use every muscle from head to toe. An hour of straight fencing and running around the piste (the ‘playing area’ or ‘ring’ as you might call it) will be enough to make you burn 400 calories.

• Cardio: All the dashing, leaping, and lunging in fencing will definitely benefit cardiovascular fitness. Because of high-intensity bursts of movement naturally utilized in fencing, it prompts heart rate to increase. When this happens, oxygen levels in our blood rise and the blood vessels expand. As a result, the heart will be healthier and will able to function more effectively.

• Muscle fitness: Because of the main movements involved in the sport, you will notice that fencers have big and strong legs. The core and back muscles are also directly involved in promoting powerful body movement and maintaining the balance of a fencer.

Improved coordination
Eye-hand coordination, mind-body coordination, you name it, all of these make fencing such a smooth yet fast-paced sport. In fencing, the arms and the legs are required to move harmoniously for a fencer to be able to defend, attack, and counter attack in the best ways possible. From sword movement, to foot work, to applying body movement efficiently, the sport itself is built on proper physical and mental coordination.

Enhanced reaction time
Take out pistol and rifle shooting, and fencing may well be the fastest Olympic sport. Fencing demands quick responsive actions and decisions when it comes to attacking, defending, and countering. It basically improves our ability to think on our feet. Fencers must make the right decisions and perform the appropriate actions in just a matter of seconds. Hence, adding a swift blade to the lightning fast movement of a trained fencer means that bouts are decided very quickly.

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