The principles of fencing

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qandaIn conversation with TIFFANY TING DELL’AQUILA


TIFFANY TING DELL’AQUILA explains the trajectory of a professional fencer. What are the qualities and attitudes that got her to where she is today?


Q: Tell us a bit about the journey you’re on, and your goals as a professional fencer.

TD: I am the top internationally ranked Taiwanese women’s sabre fencer, and I won the silver medal in the 2016 Asian-Oceania qualifier for the Olympic Games, narrowly missing the 2016 Rio Olympics by 4 points. Emboldened by this result, I have set my sights on qualifying for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan

Q: Can you share what inspired you to take this transition into pursuing an Olympic path?

TD: My life is a constant balancing act between my athletic and architectural careers. Although I have been fencing since 2000, I have also been studying and working toward my architecture license. The income I earn from my architecture career is what funds my athletic endeavors. Just one year out of graduating from the University of Southern California School of Architecture, I earned my second title as a US National Champion, and was ranked in the top 32 in the country. My coach recommended that I promote my Taiwanese heritage on the international level, as my mom is Taiwanese. With assistance from the Chinese Taipei (Taiwan) Fencing Association, in 2011 I immediately began competing at World Cups and Grand Prix events. That was the Olympic qualifying year for London 2012, and I experienced a steep learning curve. Although I did not qualify for London 2012, I promised myself that I would do everything in my power to best prepare for the next Olympic cycle. Where I am now is a direct result of the goals I set for myself at that time, and an example of my unrelenting determination.

Q: How has this step in your life helped you learn about yourself?

TD: I have learned how to make the best decision that I can, at any given moment. Fencing is a fast-paced sport that involves split-second decision-making. Before taking any action, I must quickly and carefully assess the situation between myself and my opponent. Even though time is short and the risks are high, I must remain calmly in control of myself, so that I can choose my next move correctly and without hesitation. My ability to keep a level head and assess the situation at hand has been a revelation, because it means I can exert control over my impulses and emotions. It’s a skill that has helped me navigate tricky times, even outside the sport. …


Read the complete article in Volume 2, Issue 3

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Interviewed by EMMA IVATURI


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