Every week, we get another hopeful kid sidling up to one of our instructors (sometimes accompanied by mom or dad) to shyly ask:
“How do I get really good at fencing?”
In the words of the venerable Mr. Lee Hyo Kun, head coach of the Korean Mens Sabre Team and childhood coach of world #1 Gu Bon Gil (and our very own Australian Champ Kim Dong Hwan):
“Practice. More Practice. No fun”.
Here’s a translated summary of the typical schedule for a young Korean aspiring pro fencer:
6am: Wake up.
6am-8am: Go for a run, preferably with hills and sprints.
8am-10am: Eat breakfast and have a nap.
10am-12:00pm: Footwork and bladework drills.
12:00pm-2pm: Lunch and another nap.
2pm-5pm: More drills and bouting.
5pm-8:00pm: Dinner and another nap.
8:00pm-10pm: In off-season, weight training alternating with rest days. In competition season, more bouting.
10pm: Bed. No video games.
That’s the schedule Monday to Saturday. Apparently they get Sundays off.
In later weeks we’ll cover the finer points of what the practice entails, and what more seasoned competitors like us with less time/youth/self-discipline can do to maximise their training outcomes.