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Students Drawn to Fencing’s Physical, and Mental Demands

Anna Pan doing a sport that has struggled to gain popularity in Fairfield, County.

James Fiffer

Anna Pan doing a sport that has struggled to gain popularity in Fairfield, County.

Henry Carson, Staff Writer

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]Fencing is a sport truly like no other, with risky strategies, historical backgrounds, and whacking people with a sword. Fencing has been around ever since it was first used in military training, but recently, this unique sport has been struggling to find its ways into the halls of our school.

Anna Pan, an eighth grader in the Red Pod, started her journey as a fencer six months ago after seeing her sister fence. She was “intrigued by the idea of hitting somebody with a sword.” So far she has competed in three tournaments, and is hoping to move onto level E. Fencing is categorized in alphabetical levels, similar to how martial arts are ranked by belt color.

“I think of it as a unique sport,” says Anna. “Although muscles are helpful, having a strategic mind is more important.”

Anna also has to fit this four-day-a week activity into her schedule, along with archery and string chamber. Before, she also did Kung Fu, dance, tennis, and swimming.

Fencing has been at every Olympic games since the 1896 Summer Olympics, and has varied to three modern forms of fencing, épéé, sabre and foil.

“I practice every Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday for an hour and a half each,” says PJ Loranger, sixth grader in the Red Pod, who decided the year before last to become a fencer.

PJ and Anna both go to clubs to practice all year round. PJ goes to the Fairfield Fencing Academy, as there are no fencing programs in Westport. While some fencers still dot the area of Westport, fencers are rare, and fencing is not regularly advertised as an option in Westport athletics.

This seems like a strange surprise, as Staples athletics covers sports like squash, water polo, and skiing.
Fencing equipment, which you can buy from professional stores or on Amazon, costs about the average of other sporting equipment, or even less.

This lack of education for the sport is one of the reasons it is not so popular around town.
“Fencing is definitely not receiving public attention that is deserves” says Jim Roberts, manager of Fairfield Fencing Academy, “Most athletes gravitate towards the big sports mostly because of the access to it and the revenue that is generates.”

One of the only places in Westport to have a fencing team is Greens Farms Academy, with their varsity co-ed team lead by coaches Jesse Robinson and Matt Steinschneider. Yet, the town, and Fairfield County as a whole, is missing out on the opportunity to expand its athletic horizons.

“Most people do not understand the culture of fencing and how special it is,” Mr. Roberts says. “Fencing is a great sport for discipline and can offer so much more in growth of both young minds and seasoned minds as well.”

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4 Comments

4 Responses to “Students Drawn to Fencing’s Physical, and Mental Demands”

  1. Julia Berg on February 15th, 2018 9:53 am

    It’s interesting that a lot of sports and activities require a strong and strategic mind. Most people would think that it’s is about the body but it’s not all about that. This article shows that.

  2. Eitan on February 15th, 2018 10:44 am

    This article made me change my opinion on fencing, and made me agree with you. It changed my opinion because you had very detailed evidence, and you showed both sides of the story.

  3. Annabelle on February 15th, 2018 10:51 am

    Hi, so I think that it is really cool that you chose to write about fencing, but did you know that a member of the cadet world championship team lives in westport ct? She went to Bedoford too! Maybe you can try to interview her if you choose to write about fencing again.

  4. Zachary Rybchin on April 24th, 2018 8:52 pm

    This is all wrong. 1. Fencing equipment is INCREDIBLY expensive, and costs much more than most other sports. 2. Whilst it may not seem like it, there are quite alot of fencers in Westport. There are nationally ranked fencers and even a fencer who competed at the world championships for Ireland. Also, fencing is MUCH more difficult than it appears to be. Try strategizing while also avoiding getting hit by a sword that moves faster than an eye can blink. Overall, fencing is a much more challenging and complex sport than many of the other main stream sports.

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Students Drawn to Fencing’s Physical, and Mental Demands