I’ve had a lot of really good conversations with many different fencers recently. It has been awe-inspiring to hear what each of you have on your mind and what challenges you are facing or wish to overcome. Throughout all of these conversations, which were as unique and different as each fencer, I found a common thread.
In each conversation, there was a discussion of strengths each fencer had. This discussion was brought up because when facing challenges or training, it is always beneficial to remember what strengths each of us have that may be of use in the present situation.
When you know what your strengths are, you have a foundation to build from when faced with new challenges. We often forget this principle because many of us choose to focus on our weaknesses, and what we’re not yet able to do easily. Focus on your strengths and use what you’re good at as a starting point while you learn to build weaknesses into strengths.
What If I Don’t Know My Strengths?
This is another question I get asked fairly regularly, and it’s because many fencers don’t realize what strengths they could have. We trap ourselves into thinking about what strengths we should have or compare ourselves to others, pairing our weakness with another’s strength. This is a common pitfall for many of us and does no good to dwell on.
To give you an idea of what kind of strengths each of us may possess, I’ve listed out many of the strengths I have found in fencers and each strength is something to be proud of. This list is definitely not all encompassing. It should give you a basic idea of what kind of strengths you may possess or wish to develop further.
You May Have a Knack For…
You may be quick on your feet or your sword moves like lightning in your hands. When facing you, people better try and keep up.
You move your feet with strength and confidence or with precision and finesse. Either way, you’re able to move your feet in ways others don’t.
Your blocks are always on point, and when confronted you are a shining example that a good defense is a good offense. People have to work hard to get past your guard.
When in a fight, you understand how to gain dominance. Your attacks are strong and you’re always ready to face any opponent head on.
Your sword has become an extension of your arm and your aim is impeccable. You know where the tip of your blade is at all times and how to hit your target.
You sense when you are in or out of danger. You always know when your opponent moves into position to strike and when it is the best moment to strike.
On the field, you understand the movements of your army and can formulate a plan to face any force. You’re never at a loss of what you need to do in a melee.
You can take charge and direct those around you with confidence. Your teammates rally around you and follow your lead into the fray.
Win or lose, you never let it go to your head and people respect you for it. You know there is always more to learn, but you take joy in what you’ve accomplished.
Your body moves without thinking and you can just feel what to do. From moment to moment, your intuition guides you and prevents you from overthinking.
You can design and create fun situations for all of us to try and enjoy. You develop an adventure that is just waiting to be experienced by members of the group.
Your actions are as flexible as a young sapling and you roll with the punches as they come. You’ll adjust your methods to fit any situation placed before you.
The Chess Game is your method of choice and your ability to think through a fight propels your body forward. In Brain vs. Brawn, you’ll side with Brain.
Breaking down a fight or a fencer’s style is your bread and butter. You understand what you and others do and why is works the way it does.
Helping others learn and explaining the intricacy of fencing comes easily to you. You can see what a student needs and how best to help them learn any principle.
You absorb information like a sponge and things just click for you as you learn more. What you’ve learned before helps you learn new, more advanced principles with ease.
No matter the odds, you can grit your teeth and push through the challenge. No defeat will keep you down for long and you will always drive yourself forward.
Every action you make is intentional and even in the chaos of battle, you continue to make split-second decisions with purpose to achieve your overall goals.
Seeing a Fight
Your eyes can keep up with the lightning speed of fencing and there isn’t a detail that you miss. Every detail is important to you and you’re constantly looking for more.
Being a Fun Fight
No matter the outcome, people love fighting you. It is a joy to face an opponent which makes you feel good, win or lose.
You can take the chaos that is Terrasylvae and fencing and harness it into a thing of order and direction. You may even be able to successfully herd cats.
No matter what is going on, you are the first on board and everyone else seems to join in because of it. If it weren’t for you, more leaders would be lone nuts with no support.
After You Find Your Strength, What Next?
It may take some time to find your strengths, or you may even have to seek advice from a trusted friend or mentor to recognize what you may be missing. When you find your strengths doesn’t matter. What matters is that you use them to push yourself forward and to help others.
Last week, I talked about Masters & Apprentices which are great opportunities to utilize your strengths. If you are seeking a Master, you should be looking for someone who shares some of your strengths and can elevate them further. If you are seeking after an Apprentice, keep your eyes open for someone that may be in need of your strengths and that you can help by supplementing their skill with your own experience and knowledge.
Additionally, you can continue to seek after additional strengths while you perfect the ones you currently have. In your Fencing Journal you can make goals and study the strengths of others and how you may be able to obtain them yourself. Track your progress and record what your learn along the way. One day, you may be able to help someone meet the same goals.
My hope is that we, as members of the Order of the RoseOrder of the Rose The Order of the Rose is a Company within Terrasylvae that focuses on rapier-style fencing., will focus on our strengths instead of our weakness and help others around us to see their strengths too. We all have strengths to be proud of and when combined together, Terrasylvae will continue to grow and shine as a refuge in the woods.