View Full Version : Can Britain still produce world champs?

-16th November 2004, 22:57
I've been reading the forum for a few months now, and I still haven't seen this question come up...

Countries like Poland and France have brilliant fencing programs, and surprise surprise, turn out world champs by the handful. Or so it seems, from this side of the pond.:tongue:

It may sound like a fairytale question, but it's entirely serious - does Britain have the facilities and the coaching ability to turn out that magical, legendary No.1 spot?

Some fencers spend more time in the salle then their own home - is this necessary? Or is there a possibility of a life beyond fencing?;) (heresy to suggest, I know...)

I await your replies with trepidation...


-17th November 2004, 00:11
Perhaps you should look at the thread in Off Piste "state of fencing training in this country"

Sorry I don't know how to post a link to it.


-18th November 2004, 05:23
Until Zuganis, the Jacobsons, the Smarts and a few other up and comers like Lee and Thompson folks here in the US were asking the same question.

From what I know of UK fencing you guys get as little funding and support as fencers in the us, but at least we have more people/clubs to draw from per capita. I think the UK just needs some grass roots fencing movement and a little luck to be cranking out champs again.

Oh, folks in Canada are asking this question also. Unless you have very strong government support and an eager populace such as Germany, Russia, France and Italy it is really hard to train even the most gifted athlete to that razors edge when they have to worry about their 9 to 5 or their grades or what they are going to do for a "real" job after they get over this "fencing phase". I will refrain from going into the need for a US/UK/CA professional fencing organization (and one that is not started by a borderline sociopath like the PFL was) as it is a is a departed equine that I have bludgeoned many a time before...

Short answer, we need more money, more recognition for the sport, and government programs in place to support these great amateur athletes with even a fraction of the infrastructure that ball thugs benefit from.

-18th November 2004, 07:32
It is interesting reading your response becaues we tend to think of the US as much better funded (at least for elite fencing) than us!

Boo Boo
-18th November 2004, 11:56
Originally posted by goodbadandme
It is interesting reading your response becaues we tend to think of the US as much better funded (at least for elite fencing) than us!

I don't particularly think of the US as much better government funded than us, I just believe that many of the clubs are better financially organised - they are generally much more commercial and/or are very organised with fundraising/sponsorship (New York Fencers Club, for example, seems to have a number of wealthy patrons...)

It would be interesting to know, in detail, how a number of the more successful clubs are run: New York Fencers Club, Westbrook Foundation (a very successful club in a poor area of New York), Oregon Fencing Alliance, Nellya Fencers etc...

I guess that the production of successful fencers is a combination of very good coaches, fencer talent, fencer (and parent) hardwork and determination, poule of talent to practice against, and availability of good facilities. You don't need all of those, but the combination would make it a lot easier to achieve the very top levels. And, often, these success factors have a cohesive attraction on the other success factors (good coaches at good facilities will attract good fencers, who will attract other good fencers...).


-19th November 2004, 03:40
my personal opinion only ..... is that most fencers in 3rd world fencing countries (I include both the UK and Aus in this category) spend too much time thinking about what they could achieve if only they had more money, better facilities, better coaching etc etc

...speaking from experience, a lot can be achieved with none of the above (and i say that as an Aussie with extremely limited funding, the added burden of distance from Europe and the resulting expense, career disruption and so on that involves).

... to answer the original question .. of course you can .... it's just that some parts of the process will be more difficut than for fencers in other countries .. but then again, that's what life is like sometimes !

-24th November 2004, 12:59
Interesting answers...

I'm in agreement that the two things fencing as a whole really needs right now are:

-better publicity. It shouldn't be that hard - do we really need to explain people what the art of the sword is?

-good areas of talent to train in. That comes back to the idea about the 'national centre of excellence' that there was a thread on a few weeks ago...