Fencing as the Existential Therapy Method
By V. Letunovsky
Letunovsky Vjacheslav V. is the PhD, Director of the Corporate Training School, the Assistance Professor of the State Innovation Academy (The Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation), and the existential therapist.
Phone: +7 (495) 226-96-70, +7-903-171-2001
This paper is dedicated to the method of therapeutic fencing in the existential therapy development. In particular, fencing phrase and therapeutic duel are considered being the forms of therapeutic working. A special attention is paid to working with the sword as a way to develop the sense of integrity.
They said, 'Lord, look, here are two swords.' He replied, 'It is enough.' (Luke 22:35-38, NRSV)
By this article, I should like to introduce the readers to such a method of existential working as the therapeutic fencing. Most of people to face with this unusual form of therapy at the first time get astonished so they ask, ‘How fencing could be applied to psychotherapy?’ and ‘Why the sword?’ Now I shall try to explain.
The Three Meeting With the Sword
Let me begin with a story of my own three meaningful meetings with the sword. I have been engaged in the therapeutic fencing for many years, and several important lines of my life cross in it. These are my love to the sword taking birth in a young age, my interest to the existential therapy and the Dasein analysis of M. Boss and L. Binswanger and my experience of therapeutic working which was started in the Center for Existential and Initial Therapy of C. Durkheim, Germany, several years ago.
When I was 17 I took the sword at the first time. A short souvenir one, though it was a rather massive classical European sword. From the very first day I have been imbued with a special feeling to the sword and the feeling could hardly be explained by words. It could not be named ‘love’ though there was something like love in it. Then, the feeling was not just ‘respect’ though there was something akin, surely. I used to go to a roof of my 5-storied house and enjoyed swinging with that sword. Then it was a strange pastime – after all, in that far USSR period films were never screened neither about immortal Dunkan Maklaud, nor about Samurais.
I remember myself buying aluminium badges of the Olympic Games-1980 and turning swords from them with a file. When a sword was ready, I coated the hilt and attached the sword to my jacket lapel; it looked beautiful. God knows what for I did it all then. I just wished to do so… The second meeting with the sword occurred 12 years later in the German psychotherapeutic Center of Existential Initial Therapy in Toodmos-Rutte in the Southwest of Germany in foothills of the Alps. It was a bokken – a wooden (usually oak or beech) copy of a long Japanese sword. That meeting appeared deep and surprising.
My teacher and therapist Thomas Shindelin could tell almost everything about you while looking at how you did movements with the sword. He could tell you straight away what your life was and who you were actually. Even a few simple movements carried out by a client individually or in pair with the therapist are capable to expose much more about you than a number of psychotherapeutic sessions. It was a surprising experience - I have never met any similar work again.
There are different fencing schools of the European and the Japanese swords (for example, Kendo and Kenjutsu), but in all these traditions work with the sword is, first of all, a fighting art; in similar practices psychotherapeutic questions have never been put in an explicit form. And there in Germany I got acquainted for the first time with the sword practice being a form of psychotherapy.
Then for the first time I felt and understood that to work with a sword a man must join himself completely, all over. He cannot operate rational only, ‘out of his mind’. Besides a special character of the very tool - of the sword - became clear to me; I mean the sword’s uncompromising essence which does not allow the patient deceiving the therapist as well as himself also. The sword always demands the accurate and certain answers ‘Yes’ or ‘No’. Do you remember the Russian proverb ‘Cut the mother truth’ (and its English language analog ‘To speak straight from the shoulder.’
Besides, in working with the sword the most surprising detail was a sensation of clearness and transparency coming right on training. Many painful questions founded their answers and if they did not they stopped to be so painful anyway. You could already live with them somehow being able to cope with them. There was no wonder that after those trainings I had grown fond of the sword.
I came back from Germany with two wooden bokkens made of the Japanese oak and started to practice with them. Moreover, I began to use them in my psychological counseling. Once in two or three years I went to the Center of Existential and Initial Psychotherapy to develop my methodical skill. Being the psychologist and the trainer, with the lapse of time, I began to use group feedback more active in the therapeutic process and in my opinion that raised an overall performance. Sometimes I showed presentations of the therapeutic work with the sword which invariably came to an end with a success, and even the most ardent skeptics changed their relation to the question quickly from negative for positive on taking the sword in hands.
But whatever skilful the therapist is, his mastership cannot save him from his own deep existential crises. Psychological grounding may only soften the blow, warn against sharp rash decisions and, probably, it helps to take more experience for own personal maturity from the current situation. I was about 40 when such a crisis happened to me. In the crisis’s most heat when I was weaken to such an extent that it became a surprise even for me myself, I had the luck to visit the German Center where they helped me to collect my thoughts and come back to more or less high-grade life again. That time Thomas had acquainted me with the original iron Japanese sword. It was not a simple meeting at all. Beside wooden ones that sword seemed excessively heavy; it seemed to disobey - just in the same way as my situation of that time seemed to disobey so that I could not manage it correctly in no way.
In one of training I damaged the sword’s edge a little by a careless movement; that offended Thomas so strong that he could hardly calm down. His teacher count C. Durkheim who was a real Zen master and who studied for many years in Japan transferred him a very careful and reverent attitude to the sword. These care and scrupulousness bring the Germans and the Japanese closer together very much, but I am the Russian, and the Russians are far from being careful and prudent always. This is both our power and our weakness.
Later Thomas calmed down and gave me a number of valuable remarks in his letters comparing my condition of that time with my attitude to the sword. He told me that my careless or, to be more exact, inefficient attitude to the sword showed, how much inefficient and careless I behave in the wider life situation as well, and he warned that it could strongly wound me. At that time I understood not very well what he meant, after all the sword had suffered, not me! However, later I have accurately realized the true sense of his words from my own experience.
From the existential point of view, there is nothing surprising in that interpretation. In the existential tradition, the person and the world are not considered separately. If I deform / I destroy the sword (world), thereby I destroy myself, and, on the contrary, I destroy the world destroying myself. The world and I are not different things, though they are not the same, as well.
And, at last, I shall tell you about the third meeting with the sword. As the fates decree, I have got to a club of the historical fencing headed by a remarkable trainer Andrey Zimin. In the club, they were engaged with heavy single-handed European swords. I went to a shop the World of Antiquities and bought a training one-and-a-half (something between a single-handed sword and a long two-handed sword); I bought it for that simple reason that there was no single-handed swords on sale then.
Somehow, I was not able to master with the heavy one-and-a-half sword at once, and rather soon my right elbow joint got ill. I began to train hanging the sword in the left hand, and the left joint got ill a bit later. I was compelled to interrupt my training for a month and a half and after all I found an easier way to train in with a single-handed sword.
Correlating those events to the reality situation, I distinctly understand they were more than symbolical; in my life the things ran just in the same way. I waved clumsy the one-and-a-half sword operating basically with hands not including the body at all and elbows were overstrained because of that. So and my reality situation I tried to resolve superficially, in half-hearted way according to a principle “to feed wolves and to save sheep”. All that came to an invariably painful end. That forced me to put the one-and-a-half sword aside and to buy a single-handed one. The easier variant was not painful to such an extent as the first one, but it gave no full satisfaction; it was a half-hearted or dissipated life.
And one day, on having come to train I found my single-handed sword casually broken in a sparring by one of my colleagues. There was nothing to do, so that I continued my one-and-a-half sword training again. But to my great surprise, I found it was not as heavy any more as it had seemed to me earlier. And though one or a half more hours’ training started to be tiresome and it was necessary to work with two hands already, nevertheless it was a new interesting problem for me which did not frighten me at all. It was a sign and a confirmation for me that my relations with the world had changed.
Therapeutic Fencing as the Existential Therapy Method
What is a specificity of the therapeutic fencing method and why can we consider it to be one of forms of the existential psychotherapy? With no going into details of the philosophical bases of the method, I shall describe its key concepts and purposes of this form of therapy.
In the spotlight of this therapeutic working, there is not only a person, but, first of all – the person with his attitude to the world, to other people, and to himself. Using M. Heidegger's terms and existential therapists to follow him as well as Dasein-analysts’ (M. Boss, L. Binswanger) language, we can put a person’s being here, his presence to be the main subject of the therapy.
Thereupon, the known German philosopher, the psychologist and psychotherapist C. Durkheim told about two kinds of therapy: the big and the small ones. The small therapy is established to help the person to confirm and to defend I, to get rid of "complexes" while the big one helps him to find integrity in relations with the world and to realize the person’s own mission. The problem is the small therapy often tries to solve questions of the big one, and in such a situation its methods appear absolutely inadequate.
Many therapists focus their efforts to solve some definite problems, for example, separation problems (as in psychoanalytic oriented therapy) or emancipation from guilt and increase of the person self-estimation (as in some directions of humanistic therapy). These are undoubtedly important for the person development problems; however if problems of “improvement of the life quality” become central in the therapeutic process than the person’s movement to integrity gets complicated.
According to Durkheim, the purpose and the importance of the big therapy is development of so-called ‘being organ’ which task is to give the person a chance to hear and to understand the appeal turned to him always as well as the question of his own mission (it is close to Heidegger's being call). Thereupon Abraham saying is thought of namely, ‘Here I am, My God’ (Bible).
Translating this thought from a bit abstract and mystical language of Heidegger's philosophy, we can say that it is a question of helping the person to integrate with the world, to find the feeling of his own mission (i. e. what or whom he is meant to be), and to learn how to act authentic and adequate to it. It also implies to reach completeness of presence in every situation – after all it is impossible to solve this problem once and for all.
For this reason development of sense of wholeness is one of the central problems in the therapeutic work with the sword. What does sense of wholeness imply? ‘The vital world’ of the person, including himself, the others and all cumulative external and internal conditions of his situation. There can be a question put whether the person is capable to feel and realize all these entirely? Do not we put before ourselves an initially impracticable problem? Our deep belief consists that possibility of sense of wholeness was initially given the person as a certain requirement to himself, to his acts and actions.
In different periods of life the sense can strongly change sometimes becoming intensified or, on the contrary, stupefied. This sense helps the person to realize his own potential; and by deeper consideration, this potential appears not so much a feature of a separate person, but it is much more the potential of the whole, all the situation which integral part the person is.
And just this sense of wholeness the clients lack for. The person’s suffering is very often tied with his partial or incomplete presence when relating to the world and to others. As an example here the inadequate centration on oneself can serve (egoism, egocentrism) or on the other (sacrificing altruism) which often ends with painful ‘answers’ of the world. Not-integrity as an existentially defective disease state is partly caused as well by a course of the person’s ontogenetic development from infancy to adolescence, from adolescence to maturity, with difficult stages of separation and new integration.
Considerable influence on these processes is rendered also by phenomena of culture which, alas, are far from being positive always. It is a question, first of all, of a hedonistic guideline making satisfaction of Ego’s desires to be the center of human life (we can see it in advertising slogans ‘Do not let yourself to dry up’, ‘Live on hundred percent’, ‘For those who love themselves’, etc) Development of the ability to feel the whole gives a powerful therapeutic effect. We can think of etymology of the very word ‘healing’ which is historically linked to the word ‘whole’.
How can we help a client within the therapeutic work’s frame to realize, understand, and to see his existential situation in its integrity?
First of all, the sword gives the client and the therapist remarkable possibilities of ‘diagnostics’ and work in space which is called Mitwelt by Ludwig Binswanger, in the existential tradition. It is a coexistence, space of relations with the other – whether it is a conflict, or cooperation or even love.
In a group session while working with swords in pairs I asked the participants to try feeling a whole with the partner by performing a special (no-contact) exercise with swords. When we discussed the experience, I asked a young man, whether he succeeded to feel this unity, and he answered he did but not at once as his partner showed resistance. When I asked that participant to describe impressions she told that there was no unity at all. The situation was perceived by her, more likely, as violence. Discussing the experience participants came to the following conclusion: to find unity, it is necessary more likely to learn how to reveal oneself and how to accept the other, rather than to rush taking down barriers though the second way may seems more attractive as it gives the sense of power.
As well the sword gives a possibility to practice interactions with the nature, with the physical world or Umwelt in Ludwig Binsvanger's description (Binswanger, 1999).
During one of my latest group sessions which took place on Baikal in August’09, these aspects were seen especially brightly. The group worked on a hill above the lake. At that time the weather on Baikal was very changeable, and within 4 training hours it changed for six times from the severe penetrating wind and the downpour to the bright warm Sun. An absolutely surprising sensation covers you when you carry out movement with the sword at a strong head wind or in the downpour. On the one hand, it is a great sensation of the unity with every living being in this world, and you feel almost everything to be alive: mountains, trees, stones, lake; and on the other hand, you feel joy of struggle and confrontation, and pleasure of the necessity to strain your will and forces.
It was such a paradoxical unity in struggle, such a holiday of life with no rage or aggression. It was the unity we have lost at all in the crazy rotating funnel of megalopolis which has fenced us off from the nature by its gray walls.
In the existential therapy, it is always important not only the patient’s accurately realization of his situation but also that his acceptance of it and due to this acceptance he can start to act adequately. Such a feature of the sword as its sturdiness comes to the rescue again: a person can assure himself as long as he wishes that he has accepted the situation and that he is capable to master it, but his weak and uncertain movement or inability to react adequately to the opponent’s attack or blow can quickly dot his ‘i's’ and cross his ‘t's’. The sword does not allow the patient to deceive.
Besides, work with the sword faces the person with a necessity to move active and resolute. Thereupon I can think of one more rather characteristic example from my own practice. During psychotherapeutic session, I asked one participant of the group to pronounce the imperative statement for all the existential therapy ‘I exist,’ but the answer was sobbing only. Then I asked her to take the sword in hands and to pronounce this statement with a direct cutting blow from top to down - and answer was firm and assured ‘I exist.’ Whence did forces come from? Later she became able to speak that phrase confidently enough with no sword support.
Thus, committed work with the sword changes cardinally the relation of the person to himself, to the nearest personal world (the Eigenwelt) towards the greater acceptance, rooting himself and stability.
One More Example
A client, the man of 45, came to a therapeutic session feeling depressed and exhausted with a question where forces were he could take. His family situation at that moment left a lot to desire similarly as well as his situation at office. The therapy was organized so that he could find force in himself, with no therapist’s support. The client worked independently making 2 minute’s series of blows with an iron sword to a tyre. Its task was to supervise the rack constantly (paying a special attention to stability) both during the attack, and during preparation for it. Already after the 3rd series his internal feeling had cardinally changed. There was no thoughts of weariness any more, and due to the newly appeared stability the problems he was to settle in the nearest future seemed to be such of less difficulty than earlier. The subsequent conversation confirmed that stagnant processes having tormented him moved off the dead centre at last and began to be resolved.
Working with the sword does not simply model situations, but it really puts a person into an existential situation where limiting demands are applied to his presence. ‘Go firmly, cut fairly, what does a soldier of the sword need more?’ so a Russian teacher of fencing with the sword used to say. ‘Go firmly’ means ‘stand on your feet firm, be well rooted in the life, and take the true prepared, considered steps…’ ‘Cut fairly’ means ‘be dare, be resolute, be extremely fair to yourself and to other.’ Resolute breaking off relations with old things opens a way for new alive ones tearing out of hiddeness into shrill ringing openness. Resolute, extremely fair life implanted in own being – is not it a main objective of the existential therapy, the therapy to promote finding of oneself integrity embraced by integrity of one’s attitude to the world.
Does it mean working with the sword can replace conversation and experience discussion completely? Surely, it does not. The experience the patient receives working with the sword is necessarily should be discussed. When the exercises are done the phenomenological analysis is conducted to work out the experience which participants have got while training. Thus the leader will organize discussion in a special way to make participants to interpret the received experience mastering it in this process (Heidegger).
Methodical and Practical Aspects of the Therapeutic Fencing
We have discussed purposes, problems and features of therapeutic fencing as the existential therapy method, and now it is possible to turn to the description of its basic methodical and technical groundwork; that will help to intensify the therapeutic process as well as to make it to be more purposeful.
How does working with the sword look like? As a basis some elementary movements from Kendo are taken besides I have added them with some more actions from the classical European fencing lately.
Work with a sword is diverse and allows solving not only problems of the big therapy, but those of small one also. However in this representation of the method I would like to draw attention much more to methods of the big therapy, in particular – to methods for the sense of wholeness development.
With the sword, one can train individually, in pair and in group.
As a task, every simple movement with the sword can serve, for example, a direct blow from top to down. Thus I suggest a client to expand gradually the sphere of sensation. At first, the stress is put on a complete sensation of his body development (in the beginning clients are often fixed on sensations in their hands and on the trajectory the sword makes). Then I suggest to ‘add up’ the sensation of the body with a sensation of the world around, for example, of the room if you train in gym, of other people if there are someone else, and further, of what is out of doors: trees, air, snow, cars, birds and etc.
Expansion of perception of oneself and of the world around becomes a good metaphor of expansion of consciousness as a wider openness to life. It would be even more exact to speak not just about a metaphor, but about modus. Expanding consciousness and perception of the works with the sword in modus a person expands perception and consciousness as a whole that could affect his relations with the world in his everyday life. It is important to notice thus that the perception of oneself and the world should be trained not in a dichotomy, i.e. without opposition, but as perception of a unity.
Work In Pair
Working in pair partners learn to be commensurate by being conform to the partner’s condition and intentions, etc in one’s movements. Work in pair can be contact or no-contact; it may have a concrete task like, for example, practicing a certain movement or a fencing phrase, or it may be free of task like in a free sparring or in a duel.
By my experience, while working in pair, participants of the process gradually step away from aspiration to win by any means (centration on themselves), as well as from a false self-sacrifice (centration on other) with what people often come into relations and move to dialogue, to con-versation where their actions and movements are proportional to each other and to the process as a whole. Harmony search is promoted also by change of partners in special exercises practicing.
Group work allows connecting group dynamics, group reflection and group feedback what make the process to be more intensive and productive. Observing clients’ actions in sparring other participants express their opinions, whether an interaction has developed in this sparring or it has not; what kind of interaction there is or what is the lack. In the general discussion, in a process of sharing, synergetic effects take place therefore all the group and its every member can develop faster and more intensive.
Duel. Its Meaning and Role in the Therapeutic Fencing
In the methodology of the therapeutic fencing, it is difficult to overestimate the role of duel. Generally speaking, the peculiarity of the therapeutic fencing, unlike other methods of therapy, consists in a possibility to ‘model’ a situation of human interaction making it sharp and particular as much as possible. Moreover, duel situation as a metaphor of relations possesses quality of intensification and amplification which are almost inaccessible in other therapeutic methods.
In group process? the therapeutic duel (TD) usually crowns all preparatory phases, being a kind of culmination of the group work. The duel gives the participants of the therapeutic group an opportunity to check up and to prove by practicing the truth and the viability of the conclusions and insights made while practicing. And on the contrary, the duel, actually, leave no chances for deceit in any form.
Forms of the Therapeutic Duel
Work with a specified partner. Proceeding from dynamics and peculiarities of the group process and individual therapeutic processes of participants, the therapist can purposefully choose partners for a duel, leave no chances for them to avoid interaction. It can be made, for example, if specific intense relations need to be settled between some separate participants. Also it can be made to accelerate and to intensify the therapeutic process of a participant to help him get a specific experience in the duel as well as become aware of it.
The duel with a challenge possibility gives participants an additional possibility to overcome ones’ limitations, fears or laziness. In case of challenge, the therapeutic work becomes even more intensive, rather than in case of an appointed pair. It is interesting to note, if participants do no challenge because of indecision, they feel a strong guilt similar to the existential one. However in this case the sense of guilt is actual and thus can be worked in the therapeutic process.
In this aspect, the work of the challenged partner is of the same interest as the one of that who challenges. Whether can the person give a worthy answer? This situation becomes often a bright metaphor of how the person acts in the real life replying to ‘call of life,’ to the requirement of being present completely with other. The experience shows that frequently a person, who has found no worthy answer, endures brightly this inability and feels guilt; this can become a subject of special therapy.
A tournament is one more form of therapeutic fencing giving additional possibilities. Depending on some definite therapeutic purposes, a tournament might be organized and held according to different sets of rules. Experience of participation in a tournament, sparrings with different partners, analysis of successful and unsuccessful strategies, experience of victories and defeats give a lot of material for therapeutic work that demands a separate paper to be completely described in. It is worth noticing a tournament as well gives a possibility to model not only individual interaction processes, but also those of group work.
Unlike sports tournament, of rules of victory award can be changed, for example, in one of tournaments the main criterion of fight estimation ‘the existential transparency’ (clearness, honesty, adequacy to the situation) was. For example, 2 members of 15 person group participated in a sparring. After the duel everybody who observed was to choose the winner and to prove the decision accurately. And in such a situation duels became, as a matter of fact, a prelude only, and the true pressure and existential dynamics began while the victory had been awarded. The powerful complex feedback received by the tournament participants about their ways of fight (or – ways of life) formed a powerful basis for their further deep understanding and personal development.
While organizing and working out therapeutic duels it is a very important question how to provide the participants’ safety. On the one hand, safety is set by accurate definition of the work format with obligatory safety rules: what is possible to do, and what is impossible. On the other hand, fencing tools with which we work must be chosen right; it might be chonbars (plastic sticks covered with foam rubber) or wooden swords (poles), but never sharp nor iron ones any way.
Therapeutic Possibilities of the Fencing Phrase
What is the Fencing Phrase? The Fencing Phrase (FP) is a certain (given) sequence of actions of those who fence in which various attacking and protective movements change one another usually.
I can single out several variants of therapeutic work with FP:
I shall try to explain some results of therapy by the therapeutic fencing method, and, in particular, by the FP technique using a detailed example.
In August 2008, my friend Oleg Lukjanov (Tomsk) and I held a three-day therapeutic seminar in a high-mountainous area of Kuznetsk Ala Tau near to the city of Mezhdurechensk. I worked with wooden swords bokkens and Oleg did with ‘replicas’. A replica is a plastic tube covered with foam rubber and wound about with adhesive tape. We worked approximately for 3-4 hours a day, I worked in the morning, and Oleg did in the afternoon. The group was of 20 persons, and some part of participants had psychological education. I paid a special attention to the FP.
The 1st day we began working out some elementary attacks and counterattacks; on the 2nd day we started to form elementary FP. Already in the FP learning the group members tried to modify and to extend the FP by themselves.
Every day of the seminar was ended by free therapeutic duels. From the technical point of view, in the first day duels were very inexpressive. The group members showed discontent concerning what it was of no interest for them to fence in such a way. Thus such fencing gave a lot of food for the real therapeutic work like analysis and working out of a base strategy of interaction with the partner. Participants’ reflection enforced by group feedback can initiate some changes in fencers’ behavior already at this stage. They can test subsequently these changes in new fencing duels, and after all shift this experience to their lives beyond the therapeutic group.
The 2nd day, by studying of elementary FP, character of therapeutic duels was considerably changed. They became though-out better, more intellectual and even more beautiful. On the 3rd day that aspect amplified after working with long FP. Participants felt greater satisfaction of the fencing process as well.
What changes have occurred to participants since the 1st day in the psychological dimension?
Participants got some variability in their actions, the confidence of their own forces and possibilities; besides, adequate defense and attack ways were developed (by those who had difficulties in that sphere). But, perhaps, the main thing was the participants began to think over their actions and those of partners for some steps forward (in our opinion, the central therapeutic possibilities of FP are connected with this).
By multistage combinations practicing, participants learn how to think in compliance with the time, thinking over and supervise one’s actions carefully, being present in every moment of time. Ability to finish accurately what you conceive, to get this conceived forward in time and to achieve its realization – as a matter of fact, it is one of the most important existential abilities a person needs for a high-grade life. The therapeutic fencing allows developing of this ability. When there is a transition from the studied phrases to spontaneous ones, the person becomes a spokesman of both his own intentions and intentions of the whole appeared from all the situation factors, and from the other partner’s state and actions, not the last of all. When it is so, the process gives the fencers the maximum satisfaction. Often, an important consequence of the fencing therapy becomes that these abilities can be gradually transferred by the client from a therapeutic situation to his real life.
To conclude I would like to notice that the therapeutic fencing, certainly, is not a panacea for any suffering. There are quite reasonable apprehensions concerning use of this therapy method in serious psychopathology cases. Nevertheless, practical experience of work with different mental disorders of neurotic or traumatic character speaks about high enough efficiency of this therapy method in comparison with others focused mostly on ‘the medium of the speaking world.’
We can argue the therapeutic fencing as the special kind of psychotherapeutic work possesses extremely wide spectrum of methodical forms and methods which allow the therapist to raise the efficiency of his work both in individual and in group therapeutic processes.
Besides obvious indications for use of the therapeutic fencing, for example, such as problems of aggression and limits, the therapeutic fencing allows more wide and deep working, to speak language of the existential therapy, including the analysis of the base mood, sketches and projects.
But the therapeutic aspect of fencing appears the most important from the originally Dasein-analytical point of veiw. For a fencer, the therapeutic fencing becomes an organ for birth of a new himself to become more open, more transparent and more adequate to the world, to get capability to answer the world’s challenges with greater completeness.