The Future of Fencing: Improved Technology and Gizmos…

Here is how cool a sport we have when it comes to broadening our appeal and audience:

1) We’ve got the whole cool sword-movie thing: Zorro, pirates of the Caribbean, Princess Bride etc. etc.

2) We´ve got the best history and traditions: kings and nobility dueling to first blood for honor! What sport has any cooler history or traditions than that?!?! ¨on-guard¨ ¨touche¨ saluting, gauntlet dropping, the honor etc.

3) We´ve got the who fashion-trendy culture appeal: fencing is known for its grace, precision and beauty.  Fashion designers have been intrigued by our sport for a long time.   You can constantly find photo-shoots in magazines featuring the sport (See Vogue, GQ, Vanity Fair on and on…)

But, perhaps the one biggest under-utilized opportunity (there actually all under-utilized) is with improved technology.  Fencing is SOOOO unique in that we are one of the most ¨techie¨ sports  already out there, but we could take it so much further.  Imagine if we had really cool advanced/cutting edge technology to show off to people?!

Not just goofy wireless boxes, but something really special.  The media, sponsors and people would jump all over it!   The future of fencing lays in our sports technological advancement.   A fencing system that removes the referee perhaps?  Changes the set-up so that athletes no longer need to wear masks or bulky equipment, but cool state of the art uniforms that allow for the physicality of a fencers body to be seen?  That could be more easily sold in stores as a product for children because there would no longer be the danger of eyes being hit.

Yes, maybe its some sort of ¨light saber¨system and maybe that´s a decade off, but there is a lot of low hanging fruit to jump on and since our times are so rooted in technology (Ipads, ipods, facebook etc.) it only makes sense that a sport which grows with the times might really take off.   There are things we can do to improve how we fence, score, how we watch it on television and with a live audience…all we need to do is start working on it and I know we´ll discover somet amazing advancements!

A lot of the work being done by Nicolas Mayer and others really just has me thinking about how much we need to invest, starting with AN AMBITIOUS VISION (A key ingredient often missing from our leadership) of what we would be ideal to take fencing to the next level.  I´m sure we´ll get there with the work of those on the ¨grass roots¨ its just a question of how long this process will take and if some other sport will beat us to the punch of being the leading technology sport.

What do you think? Do you have any cool technological things already in the works? I want to hear about them!

The Future of Fencing: Touchscreen Technology for Watching and Analyzing Matches

One amazing thing about our sport seems to be that it grows and advances via the grassroots efforts of its athletes, fans and coaches.   Here is another great example from Canadian National team member Nicholas Mayer. He´s not only invented an improved instant replay-slow motion replay system for tournaments and clubs, he´s now created an easier system for analyzing fencing bouts.

Check this video: slow motion, frame by frame, easy ability to jump around…essentially total control to help watch and analyze at the tip of your fingers.

Great job Nic.  I´m hoping to bring some of his technology to a big fencing tournament I´m planning in November.  Go fencing!