Bruce Dickinson said he took up the sport of fencing by accident and revealed that he preferred to be a boxer instead. In a new interview with AXS TV, the Iron Maiden singer argued that Napoleon Bonaparte, the military leader who ravaged Europe in the 18th century, should have also have taken up boxing.

“I wanted to be a boxer because I wanted to fight people,” Dickinson explained. “Because I’m short, and you know short people have a problem. I mean, look at the world’s short [people] – Napoleon, case in point. If he’d been a boxer, he’d have been all right. But no! Instead he has to go and conquer the world and blah-de-blah-de-blah.”

He continued: “So, I thought being a boxer would be a healthy way of getting rid of all this. But they didn’t do boxing at my school or any form of martial art.” Instead, an encounter with a metalwork teacher introduced Dickinson to the world of blade sport “by accident.” “He turned up one day with Excalibur, a full-on two-handed sword. We went, ‘Whoa! Sir, that’s really cool!’ He went, ‘I can show you how to make one of these, and I can show you how to use it!’”

You can watch the interview below.

It turned out the teacher was also a fencing instructor. “A bunch of us all signed up,” Dickinson said. “It was the one sport I ended up being quite good at, so obviously I carried on with it. I’m really glad I did.” But he played down the suggestion that he’s become one of the world’s leading fencers. “I was kinda sorta like somewhere in the middle. It was like being a pro tennis player, but you’re not in the Top 10 in the world – you’re not even in the Top 50 in the world – but you’re not bad.”

He added that he was still competing "at the veteran level." "They keep trying to rename it," he joked. "‘Could we call it the Masters? That sounds a bit more grand!’ No … you win because everybody else dies first!”

Dickinson is preparing to tour North America with his spoken-word show, which begins on Jan. 17.

Iron Maiden Albums Ranked

When ranking Iron Maiden albums, perhaps the most striking thing is that they succeeded despite changing lead singers on three separate occasions.

More From Ultimate Classic Rock