What qualities make a good fencer?
There are many.
On the athletic side, speed and endurance must rank foremost. Other
traits that can be exploited are strength, precision, and flexibility.
Quick reaction time is extremely important.
On the intellectual side, a good mind for strategy and tactics is
essential. The ability to quickly size up your opponent and adapt
your style accordingly is essential.
Psychologically, a fencer must be able to maintain focus,
and emotional level-headedness under intense conditions of combat.
Stress management, visualization, and relaxation techniques are all
helpful to putting in winning performances.
As far as body type goes, it is always possible to adapt your style
to take advantage of your natural traits. Even so, height seems to
be useful in epee, but not necessarily in sabre. Small or thin
people are harder to hit in foil. A long reach helps in epee, and
long legs are an asset in foil.
It should be noted that left handers usually enjoy a slight advantage,
especially against inexperienced fencers. This may account for the
fact that lefties make up 15% of fencers, but half of FIE world
Link to the next chapter: How much does it cost to get
involved in fencing?