Updated: Feb 11, 2020
Fencing is often referred to a 'physical chess'. This is a great analogy which we can break down a little:
Like chess, fencing is an individual sport. There are team competitions but when they are out on the piste, the battle is their own. Your child is in control of their own success or failure. It teaches them patience and self-control and how to win and accept, in the right manner, that they won't always win.
It requires your child to focus. Like chess, it's a case of them planning their moves and reacting to the moves of their opponent. Working the puzzles out.
Because they're doing this while they are engaged in a physical activity, the focus they give will be almost unconscious. They may not realise they're doing it. It will instil this trait as a natural approach which can be useful if other areas of life such as school and general study.
As a sport, it's a great workout for both the mind and the body. It will help your child develop their hand-eye coordination, balance and general reflexes. Because of its structure it asks them to learn to use their bodies in different ways from sports like football, tennis or cricket.
In general, fencing is a great sport to teach life lessons to your child. Many schools and environments give the impression that everyone must win all the time. There are lessons to be learned from loss and fencing provides an environment where children can confront this in a safe and supportive environment, learn to react appropriately and set attainable, suitable goals for themselves.
We're also conscious that as your child grows up, they may need a healthy, stress-relieving activity to turn to as studies become more pressured . Fencing can provide that. There's also an argument for siblings to take up the sport to give them a way to work out stresses between them!
When they come to apply for University or College, fencing can be a good example of an extra-curricular activity that catches the eye and potentially opens up scholarship opportunities. Many institutions have fencing clubs and compete in the national BUCS team and individual competitions. It's a sport that will continue with them through their studies and into adulthood, giving them a good network wherever they go.