Oct

24

 My ten year old (just turned) just finished six weeks of beginning fencing (15 hours or so total of lessons). I am told he is aggressive and unrelenting, unafraid to be hit. I was waiting to pick him up the second to last lesson and the lesson ran a full 30 minutes longer since the teacher had brought about twenty different weapons (repros mainly) and they were passed from student to student with a short description of the time period, what region of the world, etc. The most interesting item was a "sword breaker" a short sword type weapon with strong hilt and hand guard, one edge being sharp and the other edge having grooves or channels cut into it every 1/4 inch. The idea was that you could use this and catch your oponants blade in the channel or notch and quickly snap your wrist and thus break your opponents blade.

Coincidentally at this age, my son is also newly interested in chess– I tried teaching him years ago and even bought him a small computer from the USCF. All of a sudden he is into chess and he plays on the bus and has a chess friend at fencing– they played during the break at class. The teacher was also into chess and was supportive. My son was watching the 80s movie "war games" — shall we play a game of chess??? And all of a sudden he dug out the chess computer and he is into it!

Learnings:

–just because you introduce something and the interest isn't there at first, let things proceed naturally. (chess)

–back up your fencing class with books on fencing (I had my old college book and passed it to my son). I also told his teacher in front of him that he was reading a fencing book which got the teacher excited and my son "committed" to a degree. Tell the instructor about you child's level of interest.

–From insisting on him reading the fencing book he was more ahead of the other students and relating to the teacher more than the rest.

–reinforce how brain work and body work compliment each other.

–reinforce how fencing exercises and footwork should translate into basketball balance and footwork this winter for league play.

–reinforce the idea of being educated in many different ways. fencing and chess have style rules/customs etc.

–Play up the good vibes with mentioning how good it is that he has been introduced to an olympic sport and to a royal game.

And of course never ask your son how he liked "sword-play". "Dad, a fencer would never call his foil a "sword"–get with it".


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