Societies of Lancaster: Fencing

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Which sport has the second fastest moving object in sport after a bullet? Which sport has a popular British prime minister and a U.S. president amongst its participants? The answer to both of these questions is fencing. One of the least well known sports in Britain, fencing is also one of the most gripping. Coming to university is the perfect opportunity to try your hand at such a sport. With the vast majority of people coming to study at Lancaster with little or no fencing experience, it is the perfect sport to begin, as everyone is in the same boat.

The Lancaster University Fencing Club has grown from strength to strength over the past few years, winning Club of the Year 2013 and this season having its men’s team in the BUCS Premier League – the only team at Lancaster to be in the highest BUCS league.

Roses also proved a success for the fencers in 2014 once again. Matched in a tight encounter against their White Rose counterparts, Lancaster managed to secure six points towards the overall total. Lancaster’s women were edge 118-102 by York, but both the men’s team and second team managed to score convincing wins in their matches.

Having two world class coaches (one a four-time Olympian and a former world number one) has produced a high quality club with fun, structured and effective training session. The club has also made the sport at Lancaster more accessible to beginners, providing individual lessons and a well-constructed beginners’ course, which takes you from being a complete novice to team standard incredibly quickly. With several members who have fenced for Great Britain and at international competitions, you are also able to see how elite fencers train each week.

Existing since 1190 BC and being one of only four sports to have been in every modern Olympics, fencing consists of three weapons: epee, foil and sabre. All three have slightly different rules as to where you can hit your opponent’s body, how you can move and how you use the sword.

The all-white outfit makes fencing distinctive and although the sport has somewhat moved on from the original use for it (they used ink on the tip of the sword to mark where a hit land), whites are still in use today. It is also the tip of the foil which is the second fastest moving object in sport, which shows just how quick and agile fencers are.

The club provides all the equipment, coaching and socials you could want or need and there are no advantages in terms of size or height. The only thing you really need is to be able to move quickly for three minutes. This sounds like a daunting prospect at first, but the club’s training programme greatly helps you with your fitness and stamina, whether that be at 7am fitness training on a Monday morning, or during our regular fencing sessions through warm up drills and footwork sessions!

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Claire Starr

SCAN Sports Editor 2014-15

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