In a game known as physical chess, it should be fairly apparent that both physical and mental skills are necessary for success. Although I have previously written on some aspects of physical training, I would like more closely to examine some physical and, also, mental aspects of fencing training.
Although cross-training (XT), is considered by many, including some elite athletes, to be a necessity for optimal performance, XT is not the only paradigm in training, especially in combat disciplines such as sport fencing.
The Law of Exercise Specificity (or, Principle of Specificity) states that whatever exercises one performs should mimic the desired task. For example, if one is training for a sport that requires short, intense bursts of energy (such as fencing) then going for long jogs will not directly improve fencing performance. While jogging will increase aerobic performance, it does little for enhancing the anaerobic requirements needed for sport fencing. A more suitable exercise may be running sprints.
This doesn’t mean that fencers should only concentrate on anaerobic exercises. Overall health is important and aerobic exercise is a very beneficial way to increase overall health. But when doing task specific training, one should be aware of the Principle of Specificity. James DiNaso, a law enforcement trainer, suggests that when doing task specific training, one should ask oneself two questions:
1. Why am I performing this exercise?
2. How will this exercise help my performance?
Asking oneself these questions will help design exercise regimens and allow one to use training time to the best advantage. One may also employ the services of an exercise coach to help design exercises appropriate to fencing. D1 now has a training facility in Knoxville and offers sports training and sports therapy. Knoxville Center for Clinical Hypnosis offers hypnosis for sports improvement.
Check out these venues to help improve your fencing game!
In the next article, I will address the mental aspects of fencing and the question of how one trains to develop a proper fencing attitude.
See you on the piste. En garde!