Exercise can be a bit boring if you’re not trying new things. And since this website is all about being a new black chick. we like to try new and fabulous things to stay in shape. Fencing is a great cardiovascular workout, it’s good for improving balance and muscle tone.
Fencing has its origins in martial arts. It’s the practice of fighting with blades. In the United States we see fencing with three types of weapons, foil, saber, and épée, which is a dueling sword. Though martial arts are mostly associated with ancient Asian rituals, modern fencing primarily has its roots in Spain. There were several books written on fencing in Spain. The type of fencing Americans are most familiar with is done with a foil based on the mechanics the Italians developed in the 18th century which was perfected by the French. Though today it’s a sport, the art of fencing was a military technique for hand-to-hand combat. Today our military doesn’t issue swords, most hand-to-hand combat is done with fists or knives. Toward the end of the 18th century fencing started to become a sport with established rules, guidelines and fundamentals such as posture and footwork. It was largely a sport of the aristocracy.
Think of fencing as the physical manifestation of chess. The cost of the sport and its small scale has limited it to more elite universities. Most people haven’t had any exposure to fencing other than what they have seen in old movies. Unless of course you saw Madonna in the Bond flick Die Another Day. In more recent years there has been effort to expose children to the sport of fencing in hopes to revive the sport and do-away with its elitist image.
There are benefits to fencing which include cardiovascular endurance, agility, flexibility, balance, and coordination. It also has some mental benefits as well. Unlike some other sports or just mindless work outs, fencing combines the physical with the mental. Because you are combining offensive and defensive tactics into your strategy fencing is great for focus, hand-eye coordination and quick problem solving. Most hand-to-hand combat style sports provide these extra added mental benefits.
If you want to learn how to fence you simply start by searching on the internet for local classes. To help get you started check out www.usfencing.org. Many classes include the equipment. If you want to stick with it a full set of beginning equipment can cost in the $150 range. Try something new this year. Do you fence? Tell us how and why you got started below. Any tips for those looking to try a class or two?
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