En garde! Business strategy and fencing?

A few years ago, I unexpectedly discovered a fencing studio in my neighborhood. As a sports enthusiast who has had a long standing interest in this little known sport, it was a glorious find! I eagerly became a novice fencer.

To the untrained eye, fencing can be puzzling. Fencers appear to simply dance around wielding a foil. Once underway with training, I quickly learned that it is a sport that demands intense mental and physical focus. Fencing is even affectionately referred to as “physical chess.” Though grueling at times, the countless hours of training prepare an athlete to have a solid repertoire of tactics, the skill to quickly adapt to change, and a keen awareness of opportunities when they appear…not unlike the ingredients for a successful business strategy!


Here are some quick strategy tips from the art of fencing:

1. Fencers endlessly practice repetitive moves which are known as actions. Actions are the fundamental building blocks to a successful strategy during competition.
Lesson #1: Cultivate your core capabilities. They are vital to your competitive edge.

2. Mental agility is almost more valuable than athleticism in fencing. You must develop the ability to stay a step or two ahead of you opponent. This is pure game theory at its best.
Lesson #2: Look forward and reason backward to generate market insight.

3. Before any bout, fencers must salute each other as well as the referee. If a clear hit is made during competition, a fencer typically acknowledges it by saying, “touché.” This is considered good form and builds up credibility.
Lesson #3: A solid reputation is priceless.

4. Fencing has no ideal type of athlete, and there are no weight classes. You never know if your opponent will be big or small, tall or short. You must be able to adjust your strategy at a moment’s notice.
Lesson #4: Expect the unexpected. Build flexibility into your plan.

Hopefully, you will find these tips to be helpful reminders when planning your next strategy! I’d love to hear your feedback, so please leave a reply in the comment section below.

It’s your move. Make it a great one!



One response to “En garde! Business strategy and fencing?

  1. What an interesting perspective on business strategy! Great job with the clear and concise breakdown of the important tenets of strategy (and fencing).


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