I never realized how hard it was to write about myself until I had to…well… write about myself. The hardest part is to decide to whom you are writing. Some of you are good friends, family or training partners who know me very well. Whereas some will be acquaintances, media partners or simply interested visitors. All of the aforementioned are more than welcome to read on and leave a comment. Therefore, I’ve decided to tell you something about myself and the two main occupancies in my daily life, fencing and studying, and leave the juicy details of everything in between for my blogs.
My name is Eline, I am 22 years old and a fencer in the national team of the Netherlands. Dutch is my native language, but since only 0.32% of the world population has mastered this language, I spare you the struggle of learning it by writing in English. I started fencing when I was 9 years old. I had always been into sports and especially winning. When I had my first fencing lesson in Alkmaar, I immediately fell in love with the sport. The speed, elegance and boldness of the game was something that fascinated me then and does ever since. As soon as I started winning ‘real’ competitions, the dream of winning gold at the Olympic games was born. This dream became an ambition and is now a goal. Since June 2016 I set the goal of qualifying for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. This is possible thanks to my sponsors and coaches that will support me during this 4-year-journey. As I mentioned above, I started in Alkmaar at fencing club Hollandschermen and was trained for 8 years by maître Jeroen Divendal. When I graduated from high school and moved to Amsterdam to study at university, I switched club to SchermCentrum Amsterdam. My personal trainer, Paul Lammers, was added to the team two years ago, to work with me on strength, balance, speed and cardio.
I love fencing and I am ambitious. But that might be obvious since I just told you I am going to spend the next four years literally doing everything in my power to become the best at it. This, however, does not take away the fact that loving what you do is essential to even become good at it. Fencing is the most multidimensional and awesome sport I know (no offense to all the other sports). For starters, you get to make friends and stab them for points and the stabbing is not fatal, so you can endlessly keep doing this! (it does, however, become annoying when they are better at stabbing back). Then you have the multidimensional part. For someone unfamiliar with the sport, this might not stand out, but fencing has so many facets that even after 10 years of practice, I can still enjoy every single match. Below I summarized the main facets of fencing I find appealing:
- The speed
The sword of the fencer goes incredibly fast. The tip of the fencing weapon is the second fastest moving object in sport after the marksman’s bullet.
- The elegance
Fencing knows a lot of elegant moves. Especially with foil, where the rules for how to score a point give room for more creative ways to score a point.
- The boldness
I mean, you are fighting with a sword…
- The mind game
Fencing is not only a challenge for the body, but also for the mind. Tactics and the possibility to react to an unknown variable makes it almost comparable to chess. You have no idea what the strategy of your opponent is and during the match, each action will have its counteraction from your opponent.
- That winning is not tied to being the strongest or fastest
Because fencing has so many aspects, you can compensate for any flaws by playing to your strength. Being tall gives you a great range, but also makes you slow. Being heavy-build might give you extra strength, but makes you less agile. Using your balance, strengths, agility, speed, power, length and so on at the right time with the right proportion, you can outwit your opponent even though she might be better at one of the individual qualities.
These are just some of the aspects I like about fencing, but there are many more. Not to forget the fact that fencing has been a competitive sport in every modern Olympic Games since 1896, and is one of the only four sports with this distinction. The fact that President Theodore Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, Neil Diamond, Tom Cruise, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Madonna and David Beckham have picked up the sword more than once makes it only cooler.
Future Planet Studies
Future what…? Yes, Future Planet studies. This is the bachelor degree I studied, and recently graduated from, at the University of Amsterdam. Besides fencing, I also love knowledge and the process of learning. I study between training sessions and competitions at home, on airports, in hotel rooms and basically everywhere else I find some time to explore the ingenuity and adaptability of the Earth. Because that’s what my study is about, the earth and especially its future.
Future Planet Studies focuses specifically on the future. What will life on earth look like in the short and long-term? Can the human race carry on the way it is, and continue to organize and use the planet the way we do now? Does it make sense to spend a lot of money on preventing climate change? How can we turn sea water into fresh water? How do we encourage the production and use of sustainable energy? Coming up with solutions for these problems requires a multidimensional approach (hmmm, just like fencing…coincidence? I think not).
I could spend another 4000 words on how much the challenges we face interest me and how deeply I am fascinated by mother nature and her adaptability, but since my website is supposedly for fencing, I will refer to the website of my bachelor for those interested and refer to my social media for anyone who would like to debate about the future of our earth.