We Are Fencers - Page 2
Finally, sabre is primarily a slashing weapon, but as long as sabre fencers make contact with their opponents, whether by thrust or slash, they win the point. The target area for sabre is everything from the waist up, and as in foil, scoring follows the rules of right of way. Generally, sabre bouts are the fastest and the most aggressive.
Overall, fencing is a game of physical and mental strength. One’s legs must be strong enough to power oneself forward and backward within a squatting position; one’s arm must be strong enough to manipulate one’s weapon, and one’s mind must be strong enough to out-calculate one’s opponent. In many ways, it is a difficult sport to master, but all types and ages of people can and do attempt to do so.
On any given night, if one walks into Medeo Fencing Club in Bridgewater, New Jersey, one will find all types of people enjoying fencing together. In this lies one of the greatest benefits of fencing. Recreationally participating in many sports requires organizing with a group of people to meet at a specific time on a specific day. However, if one joins a fencing club, one has much more flexibility. If one would like to fence, one can drive to the club and fence whoever is there for however long one would like, and on the flip-side, if one is too busy one evening, one can simply not go. Furthermore, there is no reason to worry about not being able to find someone of one’s own ability to fence upon arriving at the club. The fencing community is a very courteous group, and it is expected that everyone be willing to fence with everyone else. Men, women, children, gifted fencers, and beginners all compete together at the club, and new fencers, whether adults, teens, or children, are welcomed into the community. In addition, fencers can participate in tournaments for people of all ages and abilities that are sponsored by the United States Fencing Association.
As a final note, while it is reasonable to worry about safety in a sport that calls for hitting one’s opponent with a weapon, fencing is, in reality, a very safe sport. Beyond mild bruising, fencing injuries are few and far between.
It is difficult to imagine a serious basketball, soccer, or baseball game being played by a hodgepodge of people. In fact, preteen girls, young men, mothers, and grandfathers are unlikely to ever be spotted competing against each other in pretty much any sport, yet in fencing, this is not so much the case. In the past few years, I have fenced people who fit into all four of the above categories, and I have not just fenced them but competed against them in close bouts. After all, there is room for all types of people within the fencing community, so no matter who you are, you should consider giving fencing a chance. After all, what do you have to lose?
Laura Sluyter is a senior at Vorhees High School. She has applied to U. Penn, MIT, Cornell, Lehigh, Carnegie Mellon and other fine universities.
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