To research part two of this series, I sat in on a fencing practice. I came in expecting to see pair of students dueling with their blades and buzzing noises filling the air each time an opponent was hit. Instead, I walked in on the team lined up in the gym spending 45 minutes on pure footwork and movement skills.
They went back and forth across the floor, perfecting proper fencing foot movements, including retreating and lunging, completing steps so intricate I could hardly follow. When I asked Assistant Fencing Coach Alexander Kaedingwhy they spent so much time out of uniform and away from the blades, he responded that fencing requires an immense amount of skill, focus and the proper mindset. Without proper technique and warm up, a fencer is setting themselves up for failure during a contest.
After putting their gear on, the fencing team continued with even more skill training. They worked on incorporating their footwork with their blade movements to become sharp, quick and accurate.
Freshman Drew Doares fences with five other teammates who use the sabre blade. Doares began fencing in November 2011 when the team offered classes for beginners. When asked what his first impression of the sport was, he responded, “Fencing was really fun but physically and mentally challenging. The training was tough despite my years of fitness from baseball training.”
While this sport is both mentally and physically demanding, Lawrence welcomes fencers of all experience levels. Freshman Yongwoo Choi fenced on the Korean national team, and now trains with the LU team five days a week.
“It’s very fun to be a part of the team. Everyone is friendly and helpful, and we work hard together to improve,” Doares stated when asked about the team’s atmosphere. The Vikings compete at Notre Dame for their first competition of the season on Jan. 28.