When I fence, I use the best parts of me. I use my intellect and creativity to come up with a strategy to defeat my opponent, my athleticism and agility when executing my strategy, my balance and poise to maintain control throughout the bout, my conditioning and perseverence to stay on top of my game at all times. When I fence, I feel complete.
All those lessons my parents took me to when I was a child — ballet, gymnastics, swimming — helped me prepare for the physical demands of fencing, and my music lessons, and the chess and debate clubs I joined, all that prepared me for the mental demands of the sport. And yes, all of it was preparation, because while I enjoyed all the activity — I couldn’t get enough — and will always love my parents for taking me to all those lessons, I would end all of my lessons feeling there was something missing, as if I had appreciated a good meal but felt a spice or ingredient was missing that I could not identify. It was not until I started fencing that I finally felt sated, that I had found an activity that could challenge me enough to keep me interested, keep me from looking for new challenges.