The Fencing Academy of Philadelphia Blog

Does Fencing Hurt?

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Fencing Academy of Philadelphia - Fencing classes for adults

When you think of fencing, you might think it’s a dangerous sport – after all, swinging swords at each other must be dangerous, right?! Well, our experience (and studies!) have shown it’s one of the safest sports you can take part in.

Everything about modern fencing is built with safety first in mind, from the protective uniform to electronic point scoring, from correct movement technique to the malleability of the weapons. If you’re looking to take up a combat sport that’s the least likely to hurt, you couldn’t find a better sport than fencing!

Fencing requires a good deal of mental agility – probably more than any other sport, but along with that, fencing also needs power, balance, dexterity and motor skills. All this adds up to it being a surprisingly taxing sport. With good technique and training, fencing injuries are very rare.

In fact, one of the main principles of our Fencing Academy is to teach good technique and movement from the outset of your training with us! We understand that the key to longevity in any sport, as well as in life, is to move correctly, take care of our bodies and treat them with care – to move how they were built to move.

One thing to note is that like any physical exertion, practicing fencing can leave you sore, especially for a beginner fencer! Beginner fencers are using their bodies in new ways,and their first few lessons will likely target muscles in ways they never have before! Remember the first time you trained your legs in the gym and couldn’t walk for the next 3 days? You’ll likely feel the same way after your first couple of fencing classes, and this is a sign of your strength and fencing skills developing!

Finally, one of the first things we do is teach our students the steps to prevent injuries, such as warming up and stretching, which we’ll go into later in this post!

Is Fencing Dangerous?

Short answer? No, fencing isn’t dangerous. In fact, it’s proven to be the 8th safest Olympic sport according to a report from the University of Oslo as we discussed in an earlier blog post!

Long answer: Injuries can and do happen, like in any sport. Just as when we’re at home, bending down to pick up the vacuum cleaner, or picking up some boxes to move! The vast majority of the time, fencing injuries are a result of improper technique or worn-out joints, and are preventable.

As a fencing academy, all of our fencing classes are built around teaching our students the correct techniques to fence safely and enjoyably and we place a great deal of emphasis on the safety and wellbeing of our students. We always keep vigilant of students practicing poor form and technique. When we see a student practicing poor technique, we remind them and show them how to correct it.

On the other side of the coin, one of the first things we teach our students is to not be afraid of getting touched. We understand that beginner students are usually intimidated and the first question they always have burning in their mind is does fencing hurt? Well, once they’ve been “hit” a few times and realize it doesn’t hurt at all, they jump straight in!

It never ceases to amaze new students how easy and pain free fencing feels compared to what they were expecting.

Finally, due to safety reasons, we don’t give any of our students steel weapons until they’re ready to use them. We teach everyone to pay attention and focus on what they’re doing to make sure they’re practicing safely. Only when they show they’re responsible enough to handle the weapon, do we then give them one to fence with.

If you have any worries before you join a class, you can always get in touch with us to ask questions and our fencing coaches are here to help and support you.

Fencing Armour….Uniform!

Fencing in general dates back to Medieval times (a subject we’ll go into in-depth in the future!), but the “armour” we use today has been updated to meet the needs of the modern olympic sport of fencing. The fencing jacket and pants (also called knickers) are typically manufactured using a combination of materials including cotton, ballistic nylon, kevlar and more. The uniform is designed to be as protective as possible, while still allowing the fencer to easily move and maneuver on the fencing strip. Uniforms today also include the ability to connect with electronic scoring machines, making it easier for the fencers, spectators, and referee to tell when a point has been scored.

How To Prevent Fencing Injuries

So, now we know that being hit is very unlikely to hurt you and even less likely to lead to an injury, let’s discuss how to prevent self-inflicted injuries! These are all things we build into our curriculum so that students are learning safety from the very start and you’ll recognize some of these if you practice any other sports or athletic past-times!

1.    Lack of proper warm-up and stretching: The easiest way to think of our muscles is like cheese, we want to warm them up before we use them so they become more malleable, otherwise muscles can be quite brittle and can tear if we push them too hard. Stretching performs a similar function but also helps flush our joints with fluid to protect the tendons & ligaments. At our Fencing Academy, we place a great deal of emphasis on warming up and preparing our bodies before every class as fencing can be fairly taxing.

2.    Repetitive movement: Overuse injuries are exactly what they sound like – over time, performing the same movements again and again, without training supporting muscles, wears away at our bodies. Think of how everyone starts to develop knee and back pains as they get older. The best way to avoid overuse is to learn correct techniques, so you’re not putting your joints into undue stress and don’t push through the pain when you start to hurt! You can also take nutrients, vitamins etc. to help you with these, but consult a medical professional before taking any new medication.

3      Lack of after-care: Fencing can be a tiring sport and as such, it’s incredibly important that you rest! Your muscles need time to recover after fencing classes or bouts, just like any other workout. Make sure you’re drinking plenty of water – hydration is everything to our bodies. Try to get adequate sleep too, at least 7 and a half hours a night and preferably during regular night-time hours (10-6). Finally, try to cross train supporting muscle groups like your core, lower back, abductors, adductors and glutes. These will help support your balance as well as calves and lower legs.

So, Is Fencing Safe?

Yes! Fencing is one of the safest sports you can take part in and you will have a blast doing it. Our focus is on teaching our beginner fencers, both adults and children, not only the right way to fence, but the right way to train and prepare for any physical activity, avoid injury, and most importantly,  be safe while having a great time! Our fencing academy has turned beginners into world champions and Olympians so if you’re thinking of taking up fencing, we’re sure we can help teach it to you, so get in touch with us now and find out if fencing is for you!

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