Iman Blow celebrates during the Katowice Word Cup in January 2020. (Photo by Kilian Agath/#BizziTeam)
Successful fencers must do more than train their bodies for the physical rigors of competition. They must also take care of their minds.
Developing the right techniques for doing so takes practice, just like it takes time and repetition to perfect your parry.
But with a supportive community and some tools in your arsenal — some weapons for wellness — fencers can be more proactive in taking care of their mental health.
On Saturday, May 21, middle school, high school and college-age fencers and their families are invited to Weapons for Wellness, an intersectional, proactive mental health event being offered live and for free on Zoom.
The event, presented by the Aspire to Inspire Initiative LLC in partnership with USA Fencing, is offered as part of Mental Health Awareness Month.
The event’s organizer is Iman Blow, a foil fencer, performance consultant and former NCAA top 10 student-athlete. Blow, a 2019 graduate of Columbia University, knows firsthand about the stresses of balancing school, fencing and other extracurriculars.
During her portion of the event, she’ll offer tips for managing stress, increasing mental awareness, and optimizing performance in school and sport.
Weapons for Wellness begins at 1 p.m. EDT with “Yoga and Breathing for Fencers,” hosted by epee fencer and certified yoga instructor Natalie Vie.
At 2 p.m., four fencers — all current undergrads or grad students — will lead a panel discussion called “Success and Stress.” Kat Holmes (Princeton, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai), Sylvie Binder (Columbia), Stefani Deschner (Notre Dame, University of Kentucky College of Medicine) and Elizabeth Tartakovsky (Harvard) will share the mental challenges and success they have experienced while balancing academics and athletics.
Finally, at 3 p.m., Blow will discuss wellness and mental performance tips she learned through her own student-athlete experience in a session called “Stress Management and Performance Regulation for Student-Athletes.”
By the end of the Weapons for Wellness event, attendees will have acquired some new tools and advice to help them move, listen and learn.
To register, visit https://bit.ly/WeaponsForWellness.