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!

One thought on “The Future of Fencing: Improved Technology and Gizmos…

  1. Great post – I think computer-assisted reffing would be a huge advancement for the sport. If refs had the aide of automatic computer analysis, they would be less biased, and consistency across local, national and international events would be improved.

    As a computer engineer, I’ve started toying with the idea of building a sensor system that would attach to the wrist or guard to detect the motion of each fencer’s arm and weapon. A clever software algorithm could allow the computer to determine who had right of way based on the motion of the sensors.

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