Fencing is one of the fastest, most precise and most complex sports in the world.

It is so fast that it is almost impossible to judge with the naked eye. Since as early as 1933, professional competitions have relied on electrical scoring apparatus to track which fencer makes valid contact with the designated area on their opponent.

It appeared in the first modern Olympic Games in 1896 and is one of only five sports to appear at every Summer Olympics since!

As the National School Games C Division fencing competition takes place this week (18 to 20 July), let's take a look at what makes fencing so popular:

(1) Fencing is a very athletic sport. It is extremely fast-paced and physically demanding as it involves quick footwork, aggressive attacks and rapid counterattacks – usually within the span of a few seconds. Moreover, it takes a wide range of motion to successfully attack and deflect in fencing. This is why fencers train hard to develop high flexibility in their core, arms and legs. Practicing this sport is bound to boost your cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength, anaerobic fitness and full-body flexibility.

(2) Fencing is known as ‘physical chess’ as every move requires close observation of the opponent’s skills, moves and even their personality. A good fencer will be able to think – and move – ahead of their opponent. The more you play, the more you will be able to access deep analysis and strategic tactics, training your mind to be sharper than ever.

(3) Feeling stressed? As a swift and vigorous combat sport, fencing is a fantastic way to release frustration in a safe, controlled and enjoyable environment. But that doesn’t mean that fencers unleash their rage on the strip. The sport rewards its athletes for checking their emotions and reining in their impulses, as focusing on problem-solving strategies is the best way to score more points and win.

(4) Fencing is a solo sport that encourages the individual to take ownership of their own matches and empowers them when they emerge victorious. It helps you build self-confidence as you get learn get familiar with your abilities and learn to believe in your physical and decision-making prowess. This is valuable knowledge which will go on to help you in other areas of life as well!

So, if you are looking for a challenging sport that will train your physical and mental agility, give fencing a shot! In the meantime, cheer on your friends and family this week as they compete in the National School Games!