1. Get in shape. The physically demanding nature of fencing requires participants to develop a high level of cardiovascular fitness and stamina.
2. Be quick. Fencers must possess speed, particularly explosive speed, for performing quick and precise movements.
3. Stay focused. Fencers must have the ability to concentrate, as even the slightest distraction could lead to defeat. Emotional stability is also helpful to withstand the peaks and valleys that are often part of a match.
4. Collect your thoughts. Fencers need the mental acuity to develop a winning strategy, as well as the mental flexibility to change tactics during the match if necessary. The best fencers have the ability to “self-coach” throughout the course of the match.
5. Stay on your toes. Much like in boxing, nimble footwork is necessary in fencing for successfully launching and warding off attacks.
About the Author: During his time as an undergraduate student at the University of Notre Dame, Dr. Ronald J. Sollitto was an accomplished fencer, earning All-America honors in 1972.