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Another reason why fencing sucks big time in Canada

Posted by E on August 22, 2008


One of the comments left on CBC following the expletitive outburst of  Sherraine Schalm led me to thinking, and sure enough another reason came to me as to why fencing sucks in this country. (By the way, read the original why fencing sucks-big-time article here). And below is the original comment, from someone named Elberich:

I have fenced for over ten years. Unfortunately competition is about winning and losing, it is not about fencing. This has degraded the culture of fencing. You can see this clearly when each few seconds of fencing (notably in foil and saber) is followed by ten seconds of posing and gesticulating directed at the judges to convince them that you did initiate the attack, have right of way, etc…

It has become more important to convince the judge and score the point than engage in the sport. Fencing is a wonderful sport and when it is practiced with good conduct and within the spirit of fencing it is a thing of beauty. Unfortunately competition has destroyed this.

I hear you. Competition, and the histrionic tantrums and theatrics that accompany it, have destroyed the soul of fencing. Then again, did it ever have a soul, or was it always dominated by a few, “high-bred” snooty white guys? Things haven’t changed much, have they? hmm….

Fencing is one of those unique sports where screaming and “being nasty is what is required” (to quote my former schoolmate Sherraine, who I agree with on this one). I remember being in competition years ago at some Ontario university or another (they all blend it after a while), and there was this one big, tall, ugly girl who kept screaming bloody murder after every touch. Actually, she didn’t just scream. She went: “OOPAH!” like a drunken greek tavern-keeper. Of course, she did well. Everybody thought she was out of her mind. I thought – here’s a psycho who’s obviously found a place to fit in and actually thrive.
And the higher you go through the fencing ranks, the more screaming and nastiness goes on.

There is no such thing in this country as “recreational” fencing. Everyone is pushed to attend competitions – hell, you can’t even fence without being forced to buy a “CFF” licence. What the f*ck is that??

“As of July 2006 the CFF is requiring all participants in fencing in Canada to hold a license.
$10 Register on line from CFF website
All OFA members are responsible to register for this license independently of the OFA.”

SO here’s another reason why Sports Canada should cut funding for this tightly-controlled “sport”.
You don’t see people shooting hoops or playing soccer in the park being forced to buy licenses, do you? I think the true measure of a sport is whether an average kid can play it in the park. Instead, it is an inbred little fraternity where everyone knows everyone by the first name.
(*waving hand* Oh, hi, Don – thanks for forcing me to buy a CFF licence this year – as if!)

Even if you don’t want to compete, there is no choice. This is how fencing is forced to remain in the hands of an archaic, elitist little bunch of snooty, inbred morons. Who force you to cough up some dough just for the privilege of participating in the sport.

Otherwise, why do they force fencers to register? Are we in a communist country where a head-count is necessary to prevent insurrections? What other sport mandates such exclusion? What other sport demands a fee to a hierarchical institution in order to be played?

This is a case of not being able to see the forest through the trees. If they really want this sport to last, they need to make it accesible to everyone. Why do you think so many people quit fencing after a couple of years? You cannot do this recreationally, and anyone who says so is lying or hasn’t been in the sport long enough to observe that competition is its only embodiment.

This is why fencing is going extinct. Not because we don’t have the need to defend ourselves through swords anymore, but because overseeing bodies like the CFF (Can Fencing Federation) have such tight controls, and nobody is playing it in the schoolyards, on the playgrounds, in the outside world.

And lastly, THIS is the reason why martial arts are so much more popular – because they can be done recreationally, for fun and relaxation, and they encourage a holistic, spiritual merging of body, mind, and soul.

Unfortunately, fencing lacks sorely in the latter.

2 Responses to “Another reason why fencing sucks big time in Canada”

  1. generic username said

    I don’t think anything less than knocking fencing out of the Olympics, at least temporarily, and cutting their funding will nip this unpleasant trend in the bud.
    I say, let’s cut off their purse-strings and see if this “sport” sinks or swims. If it can survive on its own, then it’s all for the better.

    Aggressive measures need to be taken against an increasingly aggressive – and some would argue, uterly useless – sport.
    PS – nice touch using that horrible photo of Sherraine. I read that quote, btw, where she says that when she puts on her mask she has the freedom to be nasty because that’s what’s required. Nice attitude and what a great role model for the kids, huh? She does us all proud. LOL

  2. Elisa said

    I’m just waiting for that knock on the door by the CFF police to come arrest me for “illegal” fencing. lmao
    They can use their licenses as suppositories, as far as I’m concerned.

    I’d laugh if they ended up getting kicked out of the Olympics. It’s only tradition and history that saves them, and all the European countries that produce the best fencers in the world. But its time, nevertheless, is running out. I’m giving it another decade.

    With the baby boomer effect, and the lack of Veteran competitions in Canada (events for people over 40 yrs of age), fencing salles in this country will become a wasteland. In a sport that is 100% focused on competitions, the majority of older adults will be shut out. And CFF “officials” will be out of a meal-ticket.

    Fencing will go the way of cricket – played only by certain hard-core countries, as a symbol of wealth, status and prestige by a small handfull of traditionalists. Countries like France will continue seeing fencing as a sport for a little longer only because of its history. But North America does not have any emotional ties to this sport. In a couple of decades, everyone here will go “Fencing, what?”

    But hey, I’m not biased – I don’t think biking belongs in the Olympics either – but a hell of a lot of people bike for fun – and no, you don’t need a “special licence” from a “governing body” to ride a bike! 😀

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