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Talent vs Effort: The Key to Succeeding in Fencing at Every Level

I want to share a powerful insight about success in fencing, whether at local, regional, or national levels. This idea was sparked by a profound quote from Denzel Washington:

Without Commitment, you’ll never start. Without Consistency, you’ll never finish.

Keep working, keep striving, get knocked down 7 times, get up 8.

Ease is a greater threat to progress than hardship.

So keep moving, keep growing, keep learning.”

Reflecting on my early days, I was known as a ‘natural talent’ in my profession, and initially, this seemed sufficient. I had early successes, gained recognition, but soon, I noticed others, seemingly less gifted, surpassing me in achievements. This was puzzling and frustrating, as I believed talent alone should have kept me ahead.

However, I learned a crucial lesson: Talent is secondary to Effort.

Angela Duckworth’s book ‘Grit’ lays out two simple formulas:

  • Skill = Talent + Effort
  • Achievement = Skill + Effort

Skill is your ability in a discipline, which grows through effort, not just inherent talent. Talent might give you a head start, but effort is the driving force behind skill enhancement and achievement.

This philosophy applies profoundly to fencing. At the local level, talent might make you stand out, but as you progress to regional and national competitions, the playing field levels. Here, your effort, commitment to training, strategy refinement, and mental resilience become the differentiators.

Denzel’s quote underscores the importance of effort in every aspect. Commitment, consistency, resilience, and embracing challenges are all about effort. When I embraced this mindset, I began to outwork my peers, catching up and eventually surpassing them, not just in skill but in overall growth.

As fencers, you have a unique journey. You start at local competitions, where your talent might shine, but as you progress to larger stages, it’s your relentless effort that will count. Every practice session, every local bout, every regional or national competition is your chance to put in the effort that outdoes mere talent.

Remember, at every stage of your fencing career, it’s the effort that trumps talent. You control the effort you put in, so make it your weapon of choice.

Keep striving. Keep growing.

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