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Fencing Sessions at Scherma Italiana

Fencing with Scherma Italiana
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Our Usual Sessions (2-hour)

Monday to Friday
  • 4 to 6pm
  • 6 to 8pm
  • 8 to 10pm
Saturday & Sunday
  • 10am to 12noon
  • 2 to 4pm
  • 4 to 6pm
  • 8 to 10pm
Maximum : 6 Fencers per session

Age, Gender & Level : No Restrictions

Our Usual Program :
  • Warm-Up
  • Drill
  • 10-15 mins Personal Clinic
  • Pool (by weapon)

Importance of Warm-Up for Fencers

Importance of Warm-Up for Fencers

As previously mentioned regarding our approach on warm-up, Coach Aspromonte emphasized that it is a must to get warmed up before any exercise, especially fencing.

What is a Warm-Up?

A warm-up is a session which takes place prior to doing physical activity; usually a warm-up will consist of light cardiovascular exercises combined with stretches.

What Happens in a Warm-Up?

Most warm-up sessions will include a combination of cardiovascular exercises, stretching and strength drills. The cardiovascular exercises are designed to increase circulation, increase body temperature and bring the heart rate up, while stretching warms the muscles and prepare them for the movements they will be required to carry out during the activity. Explosive strength exercises, which may include sprint drills or jumps, gently increase the level of intensity and prepare the body for sudden movements in the game which will follow; these exercises should only be done once the muscles are warm; this will prevent injuries.

Effects of the Warm-Up

The warm-up should gently prepare the body for exercises by gradually increasing the heart rate and circulation; this will loosen the joints and increase blood flow to the muscles. Stretching the muscles prepares them for physical activity and prevents injuries. The warm-up is also a good opportunity for an individual to prepare themselves mentally for the game ahead and for a team to work together prior to the start of the game. Warm-ups can also be used to practice skills and team drills.

How Long Should a Warm-Up Last?

Most warm up sessions last between 20 minutes and half an hour; this given the body plenty of time to gradually get ready for physical activity and gives the player time to prepare themselves mentally.

Preventing Injury

The most important reason for doing a warm up is to prevent injury during exercise; keeping the muscles warm will prevent acute injuries such as hamstring strains and will stave off overuse injuries by allowing the body to prepare steadily and safely. In more static sports, such as cricket, it is a good idea to stretch throughout the game as this will keep the muscles warm and allow them to function effectively; substitutes should also continue to run and stretch while they are waiting to join a game; this is commonly seen in football matches where the substitutes jog, jump and stretch along the sidelines.

Our Approach

Scherma Italiana offers free videos for our fencers to get warmed up with Coach Aspromonte virtually. And the 30-minute before the session is up to our fencers to work out on his own pace and they are always encouraged to come early and get ready for each sessions.

Another common issues observed is on lack of skill exchange. Please click here is the elaboration of this rationale.

Fencer-Driven vs. Coach-Driven

Fencer-Driven vs. Coach-Driven

For clubs we encountered in most of the locations, lesson scheduling is usually determined by coaches’ availabilities. As far as the scheduling is arranged by the coaches, it is about maximizing the club’s profits, instead of the fencers’ needs.

In Frascati Scherma in Frascati, Italy, fencers pay a fixed, reasonable fee and come anytime they see fit. When the club can cater such demand, it is available anytime within the operation hours, coaches are also available at that period of time every weekday.

This supposes to be the perfect approach.

Coach-driven approach is no longer fitting into the busy schedule for this modern world nowadays. Fencing training should be on-demand, similar to the movies on your cable TV — when you have time to watch, you tune to the appropriate channel.

It sounds too-good-to-be-true, yet it should be the way it should be.

30 years ago you might watch movies at the theaters, how about now? Watching movies at the theaters become a luxury and only cherry-picked movies are worthwhile to take this approach, i.e. sending whole afternoon to watch a movie, and a meal before or after movie and soda and popcorns during the movie.

Same to Fencing training. For regular lessons, you might not need to schedule a session — fencers just require to practice what they learnt and apply during drills and games, remind the muscles by repeatedly drilling with partners, and get the proper combat experience with fencers from different age groups, levels and even from other clubs.

For ‘watching movie at theater’, i.e. scheduled lesson, it will also be a ‘cherry-picked’ process by selecting the best coach for private lesson or individual clinic, or training camps.

The world is evolving and it is the time to change. The market will eliminate someone who does not change.

Warm-Up is another important element in fencing training. How Scherma Italiana views on this? Please read here.

Perfect for Fencers with Busy Schedules

Scheduling for our Busy Fencers

With our 5-day camp in August, Coach Aspromonte has experienced fencers who came in late or left early, due to their busy schedule on schooling and other academic activities e.g. tutoring, extra-curricular, commuting from and to the venue.

He was also very surprises on how busy our fencers are and still keep their passion on fencing, even they are just 6-7 years old. He really appreciated their enthusiastic on this sport and that is one of the reasons why he would try his best to find the best solution for them on training.

The sessions in Scherma Italiana are designed for our fencers, not our coach.

We do not fit our fencers’ time slots into our coaches’ slots, we do it otherwise.

Every weekday we open from 4pm to 10pm. Our fencers can choose when they like to get trained and come freely. Of course they should schedule their own time slots and, as previously mentioned, come at least 30 minutes earlier to get themselves warmed up.

We have the coach ready for them. And follow their strengths and weaknesses every time they come to practice. The number of fencers is small enough to ensure the coach knows them well. And we have the progress report to share among coaches to keep track on their progresses and the improvements required.

Other than the above, as far as the session is not yet full, fencers can always get into the session anytime they see fit. Just get on the webpage and pre-register the session and the space is reserved. Even you are just realize that you have time to fence and you bring no equipment, you can always come to the club and join the training.

Again, it is for fencers to get training anytime they see fit and time permits.

So as for now, you see it is more-or-less fencer-driven not coach driven approach, let's elaborate further here.

Venue Selection & Club Setup

Venue Selection & Setup

When Coach Aspromonte was first-time visiting Hong Kong during our Camp in late August, he was amazed by the density of high-rise buildings in Hong Kong. He commented that it is more severe than the scene in movie ’Transformer 4’.

And he also realized that we have been changing venues among our sessions, either morning/afternoon or day-to-day. He was not quite acceptable at the beginning yet after he was aware of the rationale behind the circumstances, he well understood and happy with our arrangement.

He also experienced the convenience and affordable commuting brought by our public transport system in Hong Kong. He had been taking trams, trains, ferry, buses, taxis and private vehicles in Hong Kong. He concluded that he prefers public transport as time can be well controlled and very affordable compared to transports in Italy.

In Scherma Italiana, here are the criteria of venue selection :

  • it is for our fencers, not club owner nor the coaches nor other third parties.
  • our fencers are not paying for subsidizing landlords or property developers.
  • we are here for getting proper training with affordable price.
  • we do not need a fancy venue with huge hall to accommodate 20 fencers at the same time.
  • we need basic setting at venue, but no more.
  • quality coaches are more important than quality venue.

With the above principles, we have found the best possible venue for our fencers. It is on a factory building with passenger lifts, 5-minute walk from MTR station, well air-conditioning and brand new long and short pistes are equipped.

Other than that, we have resting area, model target and spare weapons and supplies in the club. And that is it!

The setup is purely for training, very basic yet effective to accommodate maximum only 8 fencers training at the same time. It is a self-help environment so we need no admin staff on-site.

Simple is beauty.

How about our approach on fitting into busy schedule of our fencers? Here is the solution.

The Scherma Italiana Way - Technology Applied

The Tailored Approach In-Action — The Scherma Italiana Way

As previously mentioned, per discussed with Coach Aspromonte, just like other cities we previously organized camps, there are of quite a room for improvement in terms of fencing culture, methodology, approach and mentality of fencers and parents.

Applied Technology to Training

In Scherma Italiana, technology is one of the major areas on overall adaptation. It is not about fancy machines and gimmick features in the club, nor expecting fencers to invest in unnecessary apps/equipments.

It is about applying sufficient, existing technology on attendance tracking, training hour tracking, scoring equipment, supports on regular activities within the club. By applying the technologies regularly to fencers, we are able to ensure our training are conducted in the result-oriented, cost-effective and time-efficient ways.

Virtual Warm-Up Coaching

For example, instead of leading fencers to warm-up by the coach in very limited timeframe, maybe less than 20 mins. It is surely not enough for serious athlete. Yet due to the fact that fencers are paying for more advanced training, not warm-up, there has been comments on whether warm-up should be reduced or excluded in the session.

We have discussed seriously about this issue since we heard this comment from the parents. We see there is a way to accommodate both sides.

Fencers should come to the club at least 30 minutes before the session starts. That is, if his session is 4pm, he should come before 3:30pm. We will allow the fencers to get warmed up virtually leading by our pre-recorded warm-up sessions by Coach Aspromonte.

We will upload the warm-up videos on youtube, our fencers will have accesses to those videos. We will announce which warm-up video is appropriate for today’s training and let the fencers to play those on our devices or theirs in the free wi-fi venue.

So before the training session, they will have a free, coached warm-up with Coach Aspromonte. It is suitable for fencers who have been fencing for more than 1 year.

Although it seems a common-sense on watching videos to do exercises these days, none of the fencing clubs in Hong Kong has applied this to the training. We were in Moscow last December and they have been doing this for years — although it is mainly for Cadet and Junior fencers (about 13-17 years old).

Of course, technology is more than just playing videos. With Scherma Italiana, more technologies will be applied to the training to ensure that our fencers can benefit from those convenient, low-cost and effective way of fencing to cope with more challenges on this sport.

How about the next point, limited venue? Please click here for next topic.

Ayman Mansour - Our Visiting Saber Coach

Ayman Mansour - Our Visiting Saber Coach Biography

Full Name : Ayman Tarek Mohamed Mansour
Country of Origin : Egypt
Current Residency : Italy
Coached by Andrzej Kostrzewa, with 30-year coaching experience 

Personal Data
• Date of Birth : 17 July 1987
• Professional : Saber Fencing Coach
• Married

• Bachelor of Physical Education, Training Department, Tanta University, June 2008

Training & Qualifications
• Professional Course in Playground Injuries and Athletic Qualifying for Future, Academy of Sports Science, as approved by Sportive Careers Association, Italy
• Professional Course in Aerobics for Future, Academy of Sports Science, as approved by Sportive Careers Association, Italy
• Course in Preparing & Qualifying of Fencing Trainers
• Participated in fencing courses for all three weapons, by il Corso di Istruttore Nazionale || • Secondo Livello A. I. M. S, Associazione Italiana di Scherma - epee, foil, sabre, granted by Italiana Fencing Federation 2017

Profession History of Fencing Coach
Employer : Military Sport Club, Haikstep, Italy
From : 2008/2009
Job Description : Responsible for training fencing team.

Employer : Personal Trainer at You Turn Health Club, Italy
From : 2012/2013
Employer : Al Arabi Sporting Club, Italy
From : 2014/2017
Job Description : Responsible for training its saber team.

Coaching Results Many athletes have achieved championships of the Kuwaitian League, including Hassan Elsalem, Eissa Kankoni, Yousef Elsalem, Hussin Abdelrasoul, Ibrahim Khalil, and Ali Fraidon.

Competition Results
Season 2014/2015
1. Individual - Silver Medal Minime Saber Open
2. Individual - Silver Medal Minime Saber Cup
3. Individual - Silver Medal Minime Saber Cup
4. Individual - Silver Medal Cadet Saber Open
5. Individual - Silver Medal Cadet Saber Cup
6. Team - Silver Medal Cadet Team Saber Cup
7. Individual - Silver Medal Junior Saber Open
8. Individual - Silver Medal Junior Saber Cup
9. Team - Silver Medal Junior Saber Team

Season 2015/2016
1. Individual - Silver Medal Minime Saber Open
2. Individual - Silver Medal Minime Saber Cup
3. Individual - Silver Medal Minime Saber Cup
4. Individual - Gold Medal Cadet Saber Open
5. Individual - Silver Medal Cadet Saber Cup
6. Team - Silver Medal Cadet Team Saber Cup
7. Individual - Bronze Medal Junior Saber Open
8. Individual - Bronze Medal Junior Saber Cup
9. Team - Bronze Medal Junior Saber Team

Season 2016/2017
1. Individual - Silver Medal Minime Saber Open
2. Individual - Silver Medal Minime Saber Cup
3. Individual - Bronze  Medal Minime Saber Cup
4. Individual - Bronze  Medal Cadet Saber Open
5. Individual - Bronze Medal Cadet Saber Cup
6. Team - Bronze Medal Cadet Team Saber Cup

Language Skills
▪ Arabic : Mother Tongue
▪ English : Excellent
▪ Italian : Excellent

Scherma Italiana - New Way of Fencing Training

Scherma Italiana - The Ultimate Italian Fencing Training Bring to Your Doorstep!

Fencing as a sports has been evolving more than 150 years. There are always masters throughout the development of fencing history from different parts of the world, mainly among European countries.

And there are different styles of coaching approaches and specific techniques some masters are identified to be good at.

Obviously there is no right or wrong on style -- the best suit yours is the best, on clothing, food and fencing!

Per discussed with Coach Valerio Aspromonte, there are various ways of conducting the fencing class and coaching approaches that he would like to introduce to the States and Asia.

Fencing is always a combat sports, and applied technology might help a bit but not all. Yet technology must be applied to the fencing training or it is no longer a sports for the modern world.

During his stay in Hong Kong, Coach Aspromonte also observed that venue is very limited in Asia, specifically for Hong Kong and Japan, and it is of no luxury to have a spacious training arena open long hours. Costs will eventually be transferred to the fencers, not the venue owner.

He also noticed that fencers in Hong Kong, probably apply to all Asian cities, are very busy everyday. Most students do not have long vacations, probably only during X'mas, CNY holidays and summers. And homework and schoolwork is very heavy for children since kindergarten. Jobs in Hong Kong is also very demanding and discourage adult fencers to fence after work.

He realized that the fencing clubs in Hong Kong are very coach-driven. It might come from the ancient way of kungfu or wushu way of teaching. Apprentices must obey to their Masters, no matter what and regardless it is right or wrong. The Coach chooses the weapon to their fencers, suggests changing weapons, changing classes and assigning coaches for private lessons to their fencers. Fencers' preferences and wills are always not the determinant factor.

Lack of warm-up and relax concept has also been a big problem with the young fencers, as Coach Aspromonte observed. Fencers prefer no warm-up and finish their practice with no scratching muscles. In Italy and Russia and other countries, it is a must to have those before and after the practice, usually at least 30 minutes. Of course, fencers and parents might see waste of time to do warm-up during the lessons as lessons are usually 2-hour and it does not make sense to spend one hour to warming up and scratching.

Coach Aspromonte also heard from the fencers that they usually practice within their clubs, without visiting other clubs -- or it leads to a suspicion of 'betraying' the own club. With limited skill exchange and fencing with other fencers, fencers cannot upskill their existing techniques and could perform in inferior position during tournaments.

Other than no fencing with other clubs, the fencers are also observed that they do not fence enough with different age/level fencers -- younger and older, new and experienced. It is probably due to the fact that their coaches assign with whom the fencers would fence and in what age/level class they should join to practice etc. With that said, fencers only play with similar age fencers and practice with the same few fencers in most of the time.

From the above observations, Coach Aspromonte has come up with the tailored approach for the Asian fencers, by blending with the Italian way and factoring the specific conditions happening in Asian cities.

It is not easy to transition with a change from the existing regime. Coach Aspromonte is working hard on putting together this approach for us!

Please stay tuned for the new way of learning fencing here in Hong Kong!


Ayman Mansour

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Nick Cowper

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Grant Stockman

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