Club sport of the month: Fencing

Jaci Kohn
Staff writer

Fencing club members William Huddleston and Alyson Brebes reenact Macbeth in the 2011 Shakespeare Festival.

Photo courtesy of Jessica Kania

While some may have imagined themselves sword fighting during medieval times or on the deck of a pirate ship, Murray State students are bringing their fantasies to life by learning to wield a sword in the fencing club.

“The general purpose of our club is to provide training to anyone of any level of skill in sport fencing in a supportive environment,” D.J. Wilson, fencing club president and longest standing member, said.

The club takes members of any level of training. Students interested in the club don’t have to worry if they have never held a foil before.

“You don’t really even need to know how to walk in a straight line to join fencing club,” Wilson said. “We have two main instructors, myself being one of them, that teach from the ground up regularly. We also don’t follow a concrete curriculum. While most beginners learn to fence when our cycle starts over in the fall, anyone can come join the club at any time, and they will get one-on-one attention from an instructor starting from the absolute basics. On the flip side of that coin, we train up to competition level and most veteran members are low tournament level, so any skill level is welcomed.”

As in any club, the fencing club takes part in many competitions and is always looking for new schools to compete against.

“We have a lot of fun in-house tournaments like the upcoming ‘Death at Dusk’ we don on campus in the fall,” Wilson said. “As for large tournaments we typically have them in the spring and they are United States Fencing Association sponsored. We talk to schools every season to see who is hosting tournaments when, so that’s always changing, but right now we’re talking to Memphis and Tennessee for this season.”

Sam Baum, a one-year member, said his favorite thing about the club is fencing everybody and learning from mistakes and then hoping to better himself.

William Huddleston, also a one-year veteran, said he likes being around the people in the club.

“(My favorite part is) fencing other people and sometimes there’s games, like capture the flagwhere everybody’s fencing each other.”

The club also allows members a unique and fun way to stay in shape, Wilson said.

“There are many physical benefits to the drills and practices we run every meeting,” he said. “Fencing is a sport that uses many muscles in the body that most people aren’t even aware they have until they’re limping away from a particularly difficult lunge drill.”

The fencing club does a lot of agility and co-ordination training and the sport can improve control of balance and aim and help performance in other sports, Wilson said.

The club is a way to bring out students’ competitive sides and allows them a healthy environment in which to unleash it. Students who choose to join the fencing club are able to participate in a unique environment, he said.

“Fencing is also a great competitive outlet, it’s commonly called ‘physical chess’ as you have to use both your mind and body to defeat your opponent,” Wilson said.

The club meets from 8 to 10 p.m. Mondays and Thursdays in the Carr Health building.

“We have our own room there, though it’s a little off the beaten path,” he said.

The club has six executive board officer positions and one person who is in training. The club also has an honorary mascot position filled. The rest of the club members are made up of returning and new members.

“We’re also quite diverse, with our male to female ratio being around 50:50, and we have people from nearly all the majors Murray State has to offer, so there’s no worry about not fitting in,” he said.

Wilson said fencing is a sport where the phrase “minutes to learn, years to master” applies.

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