There are numerous sports and clubs at Ohio University that offer students multiple opportunities to meet new people and involve themselves on campus. One of those is the OU Olympic Sport Fencing Team, which offers members educational prospects and the ability to practice the sport of fencing. 

Alongside an immersive experience, the club educates new members and supplies all the equipment and gear to compete. The team allows members the opportunity to travel across the state to compete against other schools in fencing matches and competitions. Through these events, students with prior fencing experience have the ability to challenge themselves.


Members of the Ohio University Fencing Club begin dueling at their first meeting at Ping Recreation Center in Athens, Ohio on Friday, August 27, 2021. The meeting was set up in rotations, with some working on footwork and talking about techniques, others getting to duel eachother.


Helen Stec, president of the club, said fencing is more complex than it seems. For new members looking to develop a new passion, the club uses educational tools and safety measures to keep people from getting hurt.

“With fencing, there are three styles we do; they're called epee, sabre and foil,” Stec said. “Basically, what you're doing is trying to avoid being stabbed, and stabbing someone is the very basis, but there's a lot more that goes into it. You have to factor in distance. It's a lot like a physical game of chess. It comes from historical swords and swordsmanship.They've adapted it so you can’t actually be hurt.”



Historically, fencing has been known to be quite violent and has its roots in medieval times, but modern fencing elevates the ideas of personal injury. Using techniques and safety equipment, like jackets, masks, helmets and chest protectors, reassurance is offered. 

At a recent meeting, Becca Lefler, an undecided sophomore, said she had fun learning about the sport and offered her insight on campus involvement. 

“The first thing we learned was how to hold a sword, and then we learned certain stances like how to advance and have a motion as an attack,” Lefler said. “We also just learned how to block and deflect open attacks.”



Lefler said involving oneself on campus is a great way to narrow down people by discovering common interests.

“I feel like there's not a lot of opportunities to meet people with similar interests, but with clubs, you'll meet like-minded people and everything, which I think it's very helpful,” Lefler said.

In terms of experience, the club offers training from the very basics to actual practice matches, depending on your previous education and training. It blends groups of students from having little insight of the sport to those who’ve been practicing for years on end. 

 


Max Sauber, a junior studying engineering, practices a different style of fencing but found comfort in the structure of the club and how it teaches newcomers the basics. 

“It's a great bunch of people,” Sauber said. “It’s a great way to meet new people, a great way to learn an interesting skill not many have.”

The Olympic Sport Fencing Club is currently seeking new members, and they encourage those interested to join, pick up a new pastime and learn a few things about fencing. 

@trerspencer1

ts582119@ohio.edu