Quantified fencing

In the past years fitness trackers like fitbands have become ubiquitous and step counting is a standard feature of smartwatches, smartphones and other wearable devices. However, from the beginning I didn’t like the idea of exercise and sport being reduced to the simple idea of counting steps and I still don’t really get it.

For me this doesn’t work at all since the sport I practice on a regular basis – that is 2 to 3 times a week – is fencing. With fencing it is less about the amount of calories you burn, the amount of steps that you take or how much you move on the piste. It always depends on your opponent, on coordinating different moves, on the right strategy, on hitting in the right moment, and very little moves can make a big difference. So I could have a great day at training and my fitness tracker would be like “sorry, you could really get up and move a bit more” or it could just be the opposite – on a fitband I could set a new record for my exercise, while still failing miserably in the actual fight. (By the way @ fellow fencers – do you use fitbands or how else do you track your exercise? I would be interested in your experiences!)

But there are great ideas around, on how you could use digital technology in order to enhance the sport. Fencing is not known very well to a mass audience and the rules can be very difficult to understand (I am actually a referee for epee, but I struggle to follow everything in foil, or worse: sabre). The video shows how touches and movements can be visualized, which could potentially help more people to follow and enjoy a fight. Moreover, it simply looks amazing. See for yourself:


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