Getting off the fence
Published: Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, September 11, 2012 06:09
Fencing is as close to sword fighting as one can get – with regard to the rules and regulations of an Olympic sport, of course.
West Virginia University’s Fencing Club had its first beginners practice Monday, Sept. 10 on the bottom floor of Stansbury Hall.
The meeting was open to all interested students, including those who have never practiced the sport. A brief demonstration was given to explain how the sport works.
Many students at the event expressed interest as well as apprehension.
"I’ve always wanted to try it," said WVU student Cassandra Rinker. "And I’m afraid if I don’t do it now, I won’t have a chance to do it again."
WVU’s fencing club also welcomed local high school students to join.
"I’m interested in fencing because it’s not really a team sport," said Morgantown High School student Alex Shelledy. "I’m not into team sports, but fencing seems fun, and my parents are very
supportive in me joining."
Brittany Szafran, the club’s president, said this is the largest group to attend the beginners meeting since she started fencing four years ago.
Instructor Ryan Backos conducted the demonstration.
"The sport of fencing first originated in Spain and later has become one of the five sports – along with Cycling, Athletics, Swimming, and Gymnastics – featured at all of the modern Olympic Games," he said. "It is an activity that uses bladed weapons, and the object of the game is to hit the other person without being hit.
"There are three types of bladed swords involved in the game, which are Foil, Sabre and Épée."
Because fencing is a dangerous sport, players must wear a special uniform and a mask to protect them from injuries.
During the demonstration, Backos gave beginners a chance to hold the swords as he explained each weapon’s importance.
Toward the end of the meeting, he had beginners stand and try some fencing moves.
WVU’s fencing club members compete in the Western Pennsylvania Divison, US Mid-Atlantic regional and national competitions.
The WVU fencing club has ranked in the top 24 in a field of 140
competitors at the Cherry Blossom Open in Washington, DC, one of the most prestigious meets on the East Coast.
For more information about WVU Fencing, email the team at WVUfencing@gmail.com.