Fencing in the Heat
In general, you can assume that coaches will plan the session for the weather conditions and adjust as needed. So in very hot weather we spend more time doing exercises that do not require full fencing kit to be worn. Junior classes may make use of foam or plastic weapons to avoid wearing too much gear.
Fencing on the piste always requires full fencing kit, and the legs to be covered! No shorts, appropriate shoes.
Exercises that can be safely conducted without a fencing jacket on can generally be done wearing shorts (eg: footwork). However it is advisable to have your track-pants or breeches with you in case it is required later in the lesson.
Fencing will be cancelled when the local daytime temperature peaks above 37C (because none of our venues have good air conditioning). Olinda sessions are also cancelled on days of extreme fire danger.
Why is there such a big break from training in the Summer?
Generally there is no fencing training from mid-December to late-January. The break may be as much as 6 weeks depending on when Christmas falls and the start of school term.
There are a number of important factors that come into play here.
- It’s too hot.
Temperatures vary of course, but no one really wants to put the gear on when it’s over 30, and none of our venues have good enough air conditioning to avoid heat cancellations in January.
- It’s important to take a break.
A lengthy break to rest your body, and your mind, for another year of training and competition is beneficial for fencers.
In Europe, Fencing more or less shuts down for the summer, manufacturers close their doors (so buy any kit you need before June), even elite fencers are more likely to be out swimming or cycling for a change of pace.
The volunteers and coaches who get very few weekends with their families also need a break.
Fencing Victoria is encouraging the longer break by limiting the competition year. Burn-out of fencers and volunteers is a real problem.
- International Competitions
Our summer is the northern hemisphere’s winter, and the International fencing circuit is in full swing.
January is when Australias top fencers, coaches and referees are most likely to be overseas attending competitions and training camps. For many clubs this can mean many of their coaching resources are away, and fewer fencers are around and interested in training.
If you really don’t want to take a break, there are many opportunities for a keen fencer to develop their skills overseas or at local training camps at this time.
- Lack of fencers
Given the heat, desire to spend time with families and even take a holiday, or other summer commitments, we’ve found in the past there are very few fencers who will actually come to training sessions in January.
Making the effort to get to training, then only having a couple of fencers to train with, can reduce peoples enthusiasm and means it’s not a particularly good use of time or club resources.
So take a break. Plan a holiday. Do something nice and come back refreshed and ready to train hard.