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President’s Speech – AFLA

It is a pleasant tradition for the president of the AFLA to send this annual greeting to the membership at the opening of each fencing season. It is also an opportunity for comment and exhortation which a new “brass hat” can hardly resist after a quarter of a century (come next spring) of active membership in the League.


Miguel A. de Caprilles, AFLA President

It is a pleasant tradition for the president of the AFLA to send this annual greeting to the membership at the opening of each fencing season. It is also an opportunity for comment and exhortation which a new “brass hat” can hardly resist after a quarter of a century (come next spring) of active membership in the League.

In the perspective of this antiquity, I believe the condition of American fencing is good: we are rapidly regaining the momentum which all sports lost during the war. Fencing in the schools and colleges—the most prolific source of new blood in the game—is growing in numbers and quality. New divisions of the AFLA are being formed or reactivated. A new crop of competent enthusiastic professionals is lending impetus to these developments. Our international prestige has reached new heights. All of these factors are interrelated, and the promise for the future is bright. But we must realize that we are still at the threshold of accomplishment.

Because American fencing is a lifetime sport and one which relies on its financing upon the fencers rather than of the non-fencing public, the development of the game is intimately tied up with the growth and prosperity of the AFLA. The schools and colleges can introduce American young men and women to the sport which, above all, is most fascinating to the participant; but the young fencer’s full enjoyment of a game well played must await the acquisition of mature skill in the amateur club. Neither the school or college, nor the amateur club, can thrive without the services and devotion of a professional; and the professional cannot make a living unless the school, the college, or the amateur club are ready and able to pay him a reasonable compensation. In the last analysis, this means that the AFLA membership must be large and enthusiastic enough across the country to stimulate local youngsters to take up the game, to encourage schools to add or keep fencing in the athletic program, to form and maintain financially healthy clubs with resident fencing masters, and to support a comprehensive schedule of local, sectional, and national competition by frequent participation as contestants, officials, and spectators.

Again in the perspective of twenty-five years, I think the AFLA membership has not grown as much as it should have, if we are adequately to meet these broad responsibilities for the development of American fencing as a whole. We must keep in mind the fact that the strength of fencing depends entirely upon the amount of effort and money which the fencers themselves are willing to spend on the sport. We must all share the common burden. And the burden will be lighter for each of us, if there are any more of us to share it. Accordingly, if you love fencing as much as I think all of us do, you can help the sport and help yourself by doing all you can to increase your local AFLA membership and activity.

On behalf of your national officers, I pledge you our full cooperation in this important undertaking.

Miguel A. de Caprilles