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The Online World of Fencing!


By Sergey Danilov

The new world and the new reality came fast and, surely, unexpectedly. While we’re all adapting to the new way of life, looking out of the window, and thinking: “Is it real?” – we have to continue our routines as much as we can – this will be over at some point. We just have to be patient and positive!

Well, the new reality came to the fencing community, and as we’re all adapting to the new ways of studying, shopping, etc., we also have to adapt to how to exercise, stay in physical and fencing shape the best possible ways. The main question I have right now from some of the fencers – “will I get worse during this quarantine?” My answer will be: “It is up to you, in fact you still can get better, and remember the entire WORLD is in the similar situation”

So, moving on, I would suggest a few things to keep in mind and prepare for the new world of online training and be ready to come to the gym (don’t you miss gym and your Coach more than ever?)

1. Stay positive!

It is important, even though sometimes it is hard. And when I say positive, I don’t mean just the smile on the face. Remember, each situation has a solution – you just have to find it. The best example – creating the target – a) put the pillow in the jacket, zip the jacket b) tie the strap (so the pillow does not fall out) c) hang it against the wall on the hanger. Target is ready! Can not come up with the solution? Sometimes it is simply a lack of experience – talk to your Coach, I am sure they are full of ideas!

2. Safety, safety, safety!

Assuming you are getting positive and then moving to training… but remember, SAFETY FIRST. Unfortunately, we Coaches cannot control as much as we could during training in the gym, so please make sure that you listen for the coaches’ guidelines and warnings. Communicate with the Coaches any concerns or worries.

  • Before each online class, prepare the space (ask coaches how much space you would need for the upcoming class)
  • Make all the equipment ready and keep it near you in a safe place.
  • Wear appropriate attire (yes, even at home, even online – it is exercise and you should wear clothes appropriate to exercise).
  • Make sure there are no objects around you to harm during the exercises.

3. Space for online fencing training

What is a good space at these challenging times? Well, make your imagination work, maybe it is time to rearrange the furniture in your home. I heard it is good to move the furniture from time to time, and you will spend quality time with your loved ones Or you already have it? Great! But generally speaking:

  • Hardwood floors will work perfectly!
  • Have a garage? Haven’t you planned to organize it for a while? This is a great place as well. I would suggest preparing some floor mat, as I am sure your Coach will have some exercises on the floor.
  • If you have a basement covered with carpet? Well this is great (short carpet though will be the best and it will take no time to adjust)!
  • Otherwise be creative, and always consult with the coach and remember – SAFETY FIRST!

4. Your coach should definitely see you!

Another important point I notice during classes – the position of your device with the camera as well as the position of yourself, is important. Remember, while these are challenging times for you, these are challenging times for us Coaches as well.

This is the time where we can not come and correct you using some tools we used to do in the gym. So, make sure, when the Coach looks at you – he/she sees your entire posture, not your head and ceiling or your sibling doing homework.

Also, think of what is the most important for your Coach to see. Usually when you stay sideways, the Coach has a better opportunity to control your position and is able to give correction if needed.

And yes, we know that most of you are using the same devices for homework, so please don’t forget to charge the devices for the lesson – you really don’t want to miss those words of wisdom from your favorite master!

5. Behavior

I guess this will be our new world and we need a new code of conduct… Wait, nothing changes online. All we have to do is show respect to each other:

  • Show up for the class on time, so your Coach does not have to get distracted from explaining or showing the exercises by admitting you to the online room. At the end of the day, the excuse “there was an accident on the road and a lot of traffic…” does not work anymore.
  • Yes, it is online, but still, greet your Coach and maybe a simple“how are you” will be a great way to start the class.
  • NO CHAT! Have a question? Signal your Coach and I am sure the Coach will be happy to answer. But leave the chatting with friends for after or before the class. Remember it is challenging for Coaches as well to be able to provide quality instruction over the internet – respect this and listen instead of chatting.
  • Ask your family to stay away from the space and let you concentrate on your Coach and exercises, meaning no party or movie night around.
  • Make sure you “mute” yourself on the online platform during the class unless you need to ask a question. The main reason for that – every time you produce some noise – everyone sees you not the Coach. So if for some reason the Coach forgot to mute you – you always can do it yourself.

6. Equipment

As for equipment, I would really speak to the Coach before each class if you need something specific. Otherwise:

  • Small towel would be nice. I found the online classes more intense as there are almost no breaks, social breaks, hiding in the changing room, playing on the phone etc. So be ready to sweat a lot.
  • Bottle of water. I said almost none, so I am sure the Coach will give you some breaks. But during these classes, breaks are short, so making a trip to the kitchen might cause you to miss some important information.
  • Floor mat for exercises. Again, you can be creative on this one if you don’t have it or you may find one in an online store.

And did I mention to stay positive? As I said earlier, this will be over – meanwhile, stay connected to your Coaches, keep yourself in shape, focus on something you can improve right now and you will improve as a fencer… competitive shape? We will get it back quickly as long as we keep training!