Swashbuckling Jays Find Agility, Wit in Fencing
By Ethan Gilberti, Staff Writer
There are many organizations within Jesuit that are unique and rarely found in other high schools. One of these is the fencing club, the sport of three-dimensional chess. However, it is not nearly as dull as it may sound. Fencing is a game of agility, strength, and wit. Proctored by Jason Lalonde, S.J., the club meets every Monday after school to play either saber or foil after quick warm-ups.
Saber is a form of fencing in which one attempts to cut or slash the opponent with his sword. In saber, the entire body is allowed to be hit; and one must be strong enough to both withstand the opponent’s blows and deliver the winning strike himself. With the intense battle of speed and strength, it’s next to fulfilling one’s childhood dream of being a pirate.
Along with saber the members may also play foil. This form of fencing requires pin-point accuracy and stellar timing. During foil, one must solidly strike his sword into the upper torso of his opponent, using mainly one’s wrist to maneuver the rapier instead of one’s whole arm like in saber.
During any game of fencing, one’s stance is always an important aspect; throughout the game, one must constantly have his main foot facing his opponent and have both his heels form a right angle; this form allows one to remain perfectly balanced and maneuver easily. This part of fencing takes both practice and discipline and is a key element to master. Fencing also requires that players wear protective equipment, for safety always comes first. Some of the gear includes helmets, gloves, sabers, and your own ingenuity.
However, do not let all the rules and restrictions dissuade you; fencing is still a fun, passionate game that anyone could enjoy. “My favorite thing about fencing is definitely the thrill of the duel. The greatest rush you can feel in fencing comes from the victory of exploiting a weakness in someone else’s guard to score a point,” replied Riddick, captain of the fencing team, when asked what his favorite moment in fencing is. When asked if he had any advice for those who wish to start fencing, he answered, “For people who are interested in taking up fencing, my advice would be to never give up. It takes a while to develop a style that works for you, so you will be losing a lot of matches in the beginning. While this may be disheartening, if you keep practicing, you will eventually learn what works best for you and will start winning.”
Fencing is not solely about the art of self defense with swords, it teaches one how to be disciplined, set goals, and make split-second decisions while dealing with the consequences. Fencing can teach one many lifelong skills and even translate some of these mental strategies to everyday life.