People always ask me what I do. I try and encapsulate it in a succinct sentence: I teach life lessons through fencing. I understand that not every student will be an Olympian, but I do know I can teach them skills that can last a life time.
As an example, the other day I had a simple drill that develops courage and shows you that things are typically bigger in our head then they are in real life. My student was in a sit up position and then I dropped a light medicine ball (5 lbs) while she are tightening her abs. Even though the ball was only about a foot above her abs, she had an overcoming moment during that drill. It was the anticipation and worry in her head that she had to overcome. For whatever reason she had a stress reaction and stared to get teary eyed which surprised me. She is usually very happy go lucky and will joke about her abs of steel. I asked her if she wanted to stop and she just replied, "no, let's finish this."
After she overcame this obstacle she need a moment. I asked her if she was alright and if she wanted to stop, but she said, "No." After she recovered her composure, she actually had her best lesson I've ever given her. We've been perfecting her fleche attack, but there was always something that held her back. When we started the fencing portion of the lesson, it was like the regulator was turned off and she just let things happen. It really took me by surprise! During a lesson, I will raise the level of an action to make it more challenging as a person gets better in a skill. I slowly raise it up as a person gets better. In the course of about a minute, I had to raise the level four times for her! That was incredible! She even broke a weapon! She never does that!
Afterwards in our debrief of the lesson, I asked her what happened and she said, "I don't know, but I don't want to go through that again." I explained to her that she should really go home and journal about it that night and really explore what happened so she could learn from it. I also told her that she needed to keep the broken blade as an anchor so she could remember this life lesson.
She had a break through. When I saw her the next day, I confirmed that she completed the task. I didn't need to know what happened or what she leaned; I just want to know that she recorded her life lesson.
A break through happened that night; something grew and blossomed. She was another student who has a life lesson through fencing and she had a broken blade anchor to prove it.