“Fencing is like a game of chess played at the speed of light!” says our trainer, Italian foil champion Marta Cammilletti. While we were all concentrating on practicing unusual gestures by setting our bodies in unnatural positions, we quickly realized that achieving perfection in these movements would require incredible effort and a huge amount of training. However, it alone would never be enough to win a match! To compete effectively, one must also possess the ability to anticipate an opponent’s moves, ward them off, and turn them into their own advantage.

Parallels between Sports and Business are abundant, but our experience with fencing was truly amazing , thrilling, fun and… unforgettable.

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Max and Marta of Over the Bumps and Monica of Allenprice were the drivers of this year’s Engagement Initiative with the Panini HQ team in Torino, skillfully organized by our HR Manager, Barbara Pucci. Our home office staff was split over two full days in the Club Scherma Torino, an outstanding location in the heart of the city’s most famous urban park, the Valentino. The Club was founded in 1879 and it is considered one of the most prestigious fencing clubs in Europe. Its athletes have won 37 Olympic medals, 35 world championship medals, and 85 Italian championship medals.

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In the club’s gym, Panini staff was rapidly taught posture and footwork, attack, parry, and how to outwit the opponent (as far as a three-hour training allows!).

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Two Teams were formed each day, and involved in a mini-tournament in which everyone played and every point counted, as the first day’s final score shows (the Blacks beat the Blues by a very close 24-23!).

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Here are a few fencing and business lessons learned from the in-class afternoon session which followed the playful portion of the day:

  • Throw yourself and your passion into the game. Do something unusual and unprecedented and learn as you do it.
  • Don’t be afraid to take risks and don’t be afraid of making decisions under pressure even when you don’t have all required information available. Speed is often key to success.
  • Most of all, don’t fear change, which always brings opportunities.
  • Focus on anticipating your opponent’s (i.e. your competitor’s) moves. They often leave an unguarded gap of which you can take advantage.
  • Engagement really works and a group of people become a true team only when they share a common and well-defined goal.

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Thanks again to Over the Bumps and Allenprice for this outstanding experience!