In reality I find this to be an inadequate approach.
I view the physical preparation as a fundamental and essential element necessary to develop and strengthen all the associated motion skills and abilities which are central in the practice of fencing as a modern sport.
This is why with young children I use a set of games/plays (small balls, sticks, shapes, etc.) and I encourage and push them to utilize in the most natural way possible for each one of them all the moves (extension of the arm, step forward, step backward, lunge, etc.) which will be very helpful to them when they’ll actually fence. The fencing lesson on the techniques of this sport has the goal to refine these gestures and movements within the context of various fencing situations.[PHOTO: Maestro Simone Piccini, Maestro Antonio Di Ciolo, Fencing Instructor Sabrina Balestracci, Maestro Enrico Di Ciolo]
What has distinguished me from other fencing Maestri is that I always considered the physical conditioning and preparation a substantial part of the formative process of a fencer and of his learning curve. The scope of the physical preparation lays in the implementation and fine tuning of the genetic qualities and the psychological and sociomotorial skills and abilities which are part of the physical baggage of each fencer.
I am always aware of the necessity to teach my pupils, through the appropriate physical preparation, the fencing positions (on guard, lunge, step forward and step backward), the agility/adroitness, the choice in tempo, the when, where, how, and why of any move to be executed. Through games/plays for the younger ones and specially devised drills for the older ones one can achieve the goal to develop those motor skills which are needed to execute the appropriate fencing actions and which the sport of fencing contributes to develop and strengthen.
As a fencing maestro and as a coach I always follow this teaching methodology, i.e., to develop motor capabilities and abilities in my students. I put my son Enrico [PHOTO: Maestro Enrico Di Ciolo --->] in charge of the older pupils’ physical preparation and conditioning, where children’s games are replaced by specific drills (weights, sprints, jumps) which strengthen the capability and ability already acquired (as youngsters) and to develop what is still missing (power, speed, elasticity, endurance).
I did not delegate this aspect of the athletes preparation to my son by chance but because of specific facts and reasons.
In 1986 Enrico became certified as fencing maestro and in 1994 he graduated from ISEF (College Program for PE Instructors) in Florence where he wrote a thesis about fencing and the handicapped. His research and studies covered both theory and practical knowledge which are necessary to follow all athletes in the gym.
Enrico immediately adapted his general knowledge from the study of the theory of physical preparation to the specific and special situations in the sport of fencing and he brought out the best results with this training of our fencers. For example, from 1989 until 2000 Enrico programmed and followed the physical preparation and conditioning of Alessandro Puccini. And today he is in charge of the physical preparation and conditioning of Toti Sanzo and all our other athletes at all levels.[PHOTO: Maestro Antonio Di Ciolo between his students Frida Scarpa and Toti Sanzo]