Emil Beck, the Number 1 leader of German Fencing, best known for his coaching prowess and stable of world and Olympic Champions, a well known figure of German Sport, passed away suddenly on Sunday evening. He has influenced all areas of fencing, within Germany and world wide. We acknowledge and are appreciative of his life time contribution to our sport. We extend our deepest sympathies at his passing to his family and the whole German fencing community.
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Emil Beck’s passion for fencing began with him coaching in a garage in a small village of Tauberbischofsheim, affectionantely known as TBB. His family hairdressing business was not enough for this man. He developed an effective systematic training program for fencers which was adopted and replicated throughout the country, transforming German fencing. It also transformed his life raising him and his beloved village of TBB out of obscurity to the highest levels. The stable of Olympic Champions and world champions resulting from this small town is unprecedented. The fencing centre is now a national and regional training centre. It incorporates accommodation, and all the support services one normally expects, including a school next door, and massive indoor stadium which can be used for world Cup events. German Fencing has grown from the mid seventies under the influence of this one man to be a leader and power house in fencing.
I was privileged to have had the opportunity to live for three months in 1980 at the Fechten Zentrum, TBB, when it had only a small accommodation wing and one training room with 14 pistes. I was introduced to the Beck methods, six days a week, experiencing the benefit of quality systematic coaching, training, appropriate facilities, and got to know and understand the fencers that were formed there. It was a factory for champions. And for those that did not make the highest levels – the level of achievement of every fencer was exceptional - a true centre of excellence. Many went on to shape our sport, to dazzle and enthral everyone; fencers and spectators alike with their abilities, skill and genius. I am privileged to have known and worked with this man. He was an important shaper and influence in my life and fencing.
Emil Beck took great pleasure from seeing his fencers performing. My most striking memory is of him standing shoulder to shoulder next to his Italian rival Finni, watching their fencers (Mathius Guy and Numa) competing and each time one scored a hit nudging the other with a "there I told you -take that - he's my boy!". Then when the bout was over both shaking hands.
Martin Brill President FeNZ
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