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Foundations for Fencing Feats
5 February 2017

Fencing WA: Foundations Workshop
5 February 2017, DSR
Story by Maia Simmonds, World Championship and World Cup Australian Rowing Team representative


Given my limited Fencing knowledge I was both intrigued and excited to work with Joe McCarthy and the Fencing athletes on Sunday. What met me was a fantastic group of very engaged and passionate athletes who made this workshop a learning experience for all of us.

We began by examining our motivations to train and compete. It was fantastic to see the athletes share honestly all of their passion and drive, and to see so many were driven by an intrinsic desire to Fence at their personal peak ability, not merely by a desire to win. I personally believe that it is absolutely imperative to begin your sporting journey with a love for the sport and always ensure that love is still there. Although there will be tough time and you won’t love every session there are too many sacrifices and tough moments in chasing elite success for it not to be founded on a love and enjoyment of your sport.


Together we looked at the hours in our week, to calculate what we had left once we subtracted hours for sleeping, eating, travelling, school, training and homework. This left the spare time that can be dedicated to friends and family, down time and any other pursuits that the athletes may sometimes feel that don’t have time for. Often when we undertake this exercise athletes are surprised about the amount of time they can have if they are aware of their time management. Certainly some found 40 hours of wonderful freedom, however some found their free time in the single digits. Hopefully by viewing their time in this way these athletes can work out where they could combine their time, like travelling and study, to allow themselves some more of that precious down time we all need to be at our best.

We wound up by looking at integrity in sport and the tools for ensuring you always comply with anti-doping regulations. I always find it insightful to see how young athletes rank various sports in order of their perceived integrity. This lets us identifying how we want our own sport to be seen and it is always uplifting to see how athletes not just clean but also respectful competition. For these Fencing athletes there is great value in having a partner to train against that can lift and push you, and each athlete had a great respect for the skills and abilities of their opponents.


Thank you Fencers for a wonderful morning! I wish you all these best going forward in your sport and studies!

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