Club Spotlight: Fencing

What is the one place where it is not only okay, but advised that you stab your best friends and acquaintances?  The Fencing Club, of course! Every Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 8:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., you and your friends can use weapons to stab, slash, and defend yourself and each other – Olympic style.

The “point” of the Club is giving the students the chance to learn, practice, and enjoy one or all three weapons of sabre, epee, and foil. Out of the three weapons, sabre would probably be the most recognizable; the bouting is very fast paced and it is generally the most aggressive due to the fact that one is able to slash and cut with any part of the blade. In order to receive points, however, the fencer is only allowed to attack the top half of the body. The blade has a bell guard that curves around the handle, protecting the fencer’s hand.

Epee would be sabre’s opposite in the idea that it is considered the least aggressive weapon. Fencers who choose this weapon are able to use the tip of the sword to attack any part of the body. The blade has a large bell, like a cup, that covers the top of the hand.

Foil is in between sabre and epee.  It has a small, circular bell guard and fencers attack their opponent’s torso, also with the tip of the blade, in order to receive points. While it has more complicated rules and judging, much like sabre, it is what is first taught to new Club members because it teaches the basics of footwork as well as offensive and defensive exchange.

The Club gives great opportunities for students not only to learn fencing, but also to push themselves and test their own abilities against other fencers of all ages. The Club recently attended two tournaments: Fence-A-Thon, an all-night fencing tournament, and Chaos, which has a good mix of new fencers and veterans held at College Park. Both of these tournaments are great chances that allow each student to test themselves, if they so choose.

Our Fencing Club belongs to the Baltimore-Washington Collegiate Fencing Conference (BWCFC), which is a collection of Fencing Clubs in the region (this includes UMCP, Navy, and UMBC). Within the BWCFC, three tournaments are held in a year: one in the fall and two in the spring. For the first two, each school club participating sends three teams (one for each weapon) to compete against each other. Generally, those who made it into one of the first two team competitions have the right to go to the third, which is an individual competition.

If you are interested in joining, our club meets in the tennis courts until it gets cold, in which case we will meet in the Michael P. O’Brien Athletics and Recreation Center by the pool. We have club equipment you can use, so you don’t have to worry about buying your own gear.

Do not hesitate to contact me via e-mail ( for more information. We hope to see you soon!

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