Fencing, despite its long history and traditions, is still a niche sport. This can mean fencing clubs are few and far between and sometimes hard to access.
In this article we'll go through what you can do if you don't live close to a fencing club and the alternative options you can explore.
The Problems With Fencing at Home
One of the first things you may want to think about if you don't have a club near you is to practise at home, reading fencing glossaries and beginner fencing advice and using YouTube videos for guidance. This is true if you are a complete newbie or looking to get back into fencing.
However, you should avoid practising fencing at home for several reasons:
1. No Coach
Firstly, without a coach or supervision it can be very easy to get into bad habits which are hard to correct. Having a coach is a great way to hone your own abilities with an expert’s insight into form, efficiency and applying these to a bout.
2. Slow Development
With only practising isolated techniques, you're only doing one part of fencing and ignoring so many other elements of the sport. This means you are very one-sided in your fencing ability, and likely weak on endurance, compound movements and adrenaline control.
3. Competitive Experience
Key to fencing is to test your abilities against other fencers, so if you are learning fencing on your own you won't actually have any real-world fencing experience. You can practise technique all you like, but unless you apply this against an opponent, how good you are as a fencer is completely theoretical.
4. Hitting a Ceiling
Even if you manage to work on your technique on your own, you will ultimately still reach a ceiling in your ability without a coach or other fencers to fence against. This might result in you running out of exercises to do and ways to challenge yourself on your own.
What To Do Without a Fencing Club Nearby
Ultimately, if there isn't a fencing club within a realistic distance to you, you are better off trying another sport. This might be hard to come to terms with, especially if you have really taken an interest until this point. This is primarily because in order to become a good fencer and to participate, you have to have a coach to develop your technique and others to fence against to truly engage in the sport and enjoy fencing for what it is.
Alternative Sports to Fencing
As a one on one combat sport, there are actually quite a few alternative sports that have the same principles as fencing. You might want to consider the below sports and see if there's any clubs near you. Use the club finder linked to each sport to search for a local club: