Every child has pretended to be a dueling knight or a swashbuckling pirate at one time or another. Your child might pretend a stick or an umbrella is his sword or light saber as he challenges you to a duel. Fencing is an exciting sport because it combines "sword-fighting" with skill and futuristic outfits. Enroll your child in real fencing lessons to teach him hand-eye coordination and the discipline needed for a real duel.
If you've followed the Summer Olympics, you know that fencing is a sport in which two players who appear to be wearing a sieve on their heads and aluminum foil outfits battle it out with wire-like swords. Fencing is a fast and athletic sport that takes skill and is now scored electronically. A game of fencing is called a bout and the objective is for players to block each other from touching them with their foil. Each time a fencer touches her opponent on the torso with the tip of her foil, she scores a point. Players cannot touch the legs, arms, neck or head. If the fencer touches the other player on an out-of-bounds area, the game is stopped and must begin again.
So why would you give your child the opportunity to learn a game that is about a duel? Swordsmen101.com lists the many benefits of learning how to fence. This sport is not about a "sword fight," it is about learning physical and mental skills. Learning to fence will teach your child how to play with strategy, discipline and by following the rules. It also helps to build quick reflexes and agility as kids learn to anticipate their opponents move in a split second. As with other sports, fencing will also teach your child good sportsmanship, confidence and self-discipline, and it will keep them off the couch and away from a screen for a while.
Professional fencers wear protective face and body gear to prevent injury. Their faces are covered with a metal mesh visor that the foil cannot penetrate. Fencers typically wear a white outfit with padding that makes them look like a baseball catcher. Children who are learning to fence typically wear brightly colored foam and plastic protective equipment. Instructors ensure that kids wear the face visors and body protection at all times to guard against injury and to give them real fencing experiences. Your child's fencing center or instructor will provide all equipment or tell you where you can buy fencing gear for children.
Fencing's popularity has risen with the advent of electronic scoring and its exposure in the Olympics and international sporting events. You might be able to find fencing lessons for your child at a school, community center or gym. Private centers also offer fencing lessons in a safe and educational environment. Many of these are run by former professional fencers.
Fencing takes considerable agility and hand dexterity to handle the foil. Younger children might not be ready to try this sport, but even young kids can get started by learning fencing techniques. The London Fencing Club provides lessons for children ages 6 to 14 years. However, other sports centers teach kids as young as 3 years. Teens and adults can also pick up this sport. You might want to take a private family lesson and learn how to fence along with your child.
- Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images