First thing. Did you read the last e-mail/post? Did you try some visualization? Make sure you do! I encourage to try to do some visualization every day. Do a whole bout in your mind, from salute, through 5 touches, to the handshake. Make sure you have bouts that you win AND lose! Visualize the decisions you have to make. A bout is only 3 minutes right? It won’t take that much time during the day, you can do it right when you wake up before you get up, while you’re staring off into space eating your cereal, or while you’re in the bathroom…well you get the picture.
I CAN BE LONG WINDED
Second thing. I can get long winded, so anyone that’s talked to me before knows I can keep talking. So I’ll try not to make these posts too long. I want you training, not reading my drivel!
Second thing, part 2. So here’s part 1 of you’re training for today: a footwork chain. It’s an easy one and easy to remember, it’s number 1 on the footwork chain list. You’re going to do 3 sets of 3 times each.
TRAINING ASSIGNMENT, PART 1
The first three times you do it, stay relaxed, knees slightly bent, but I want you to make sure your advances are small! Your lunges can be medium length, make sure you extend before you lunge. Take your time.
The second three times you do it, knees bent a little more, keep advances small, and do medium to long lunges, make sure you extend first. Take your time between each chain.
The third three times you do it, it’s for speed and power. I want you to be able to hold those lunges! Don’t jump back to en garde immediately! Use that back leg to propel you forward to a long lunge and a good extension!
Here’s the footwork chain you need to do (remember the commas mean a pause between actions)
-Advance, lunge, en garde (not patinando)
-Double advance, lunge, en garde
-Triple advance, lunge, en garde
-Lunge, en garde
-Lunge, en garde, retreat
-Lunge, en garde, double retreat
-Lunge, en garde, triple retreat
TRAINING ASSIGNMENT, PART 2
Third thing, I’m going to teach to you diaphragmatic breathing. Basically, this is breathing with your belly, not with your chest.
First, why? Because it does the following things:
-It relaxes you
-It lowers your heart rate
-It improves muscle stability
-It improves your body’s ability to tolerate intense exercise
-It slows your rate of breathing
Because all the opposite things happen when you fence; you’re tense, your heart rate goes up, you get tired, and you hyperventilate. What does that mean for your fencing. You’ll get tired and can’t think. You get tunnel vision, and can’t problem solve, and can’t see the whole picture. I do diaphragmatic breathing every chance I get during a bout, between touches, walking back to the en garde line, before I stand in en garde. It helps keep me focused and not let my emotions take control.
Ok, so here’s how you do it:
- Sit in a comfortable position or lie flat on the floor, your bed, or another comfortable, flat surface.
- Relax your shoulders.
- Put a hand on your chest and a hand on your stomach.
- Breathe in through your nose for about two seconds. You should experience the air moving through your nostrils into your abdomen, making your stomach expand. During this type of breathing, make sure your stomach is moving outward while your chest remains relatively still.
- Purse your lips (as if you’re about to drink through a straw), press gently on your stomach, and exhale slowly for about two seconds.
- Repeat these steps several times for best results.
- You can watch an example here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cRLuNvK-kwE
If you want to learn more about how breathing affects your fencing, visit: https://academyoffencingmasters.com/blog/the-importance-of-breath-control-for-fencers/
THE FOURTH THING
And I promise it’s the last thing. OMG, I’m sore! I’ve been in the fencing room during the days we usually have classes and I’m still working for you and developing some lessons with videos that I can share with you. It easier that reading all this (if you made it this far).
So I’ve been doing videos of footwork and drills you can do at home, which means, I’ve been demonstrating good footwork and good en gardes to lead by example! But that also means, I’ve been doing footwork and sitting in en garde for nearly 2 hours straight.
Honestly, I think it was more work that when I’m actually teaching class. But I want you to know that this closure is not a break for me, it’s not a break from fencing, so don’t let it be a break for you. Keep up with training! Hopefully, I’ll have some videos to share with you soon.