If you thought fencing was just a couple of people with pretend swords, then think again. It is one of the fastest growing sports in the UK and gaining in popularity. The University’s fencing club is no exception, with an active membership of around forty members plus beginners. At the end of the autumn term, the beginners’ competition attracted thirty three entrants, all of whom were new to the sport. This term alone, the club has attracted another fifteen members.
Each new member must undergo an eight week training course. Three students at the club are trained to coach and an experienced coach comes every Tuesday. Now for an overview on the basics of fencing.
There are three types of weapons. These are the foil, sabre and the eppee. Foil was originally developed as a training weapon and is a thin flexible point weapon (you can’t slash with it) and the torso is the target area. The Sabre, which developed from the cavalry weapon, is very different. It is a cutting weapon and everywhere above the waist is on target. It tends to be the fastest of the three weapons. The Eppee, currently a popular weapon in the club, is a stiff point weapon, and the whole body is a target. This leads to fights where many hits go to the wrists and feet. Both University teams are performing well in their respective leagues; the potential of the society is already being realised. So if you enjoy camaraderie and generally a good time to give fencing a go.
By Christopher Lowther
Deputy sports editor