The student news site of Kennesaw Mountain High School

The Mustang Messenger

The Mustang Messenger

The student news site of Kennesaw Mountain High School

The Mustang Messenger

The student news site of Kennesaw Mountain High School

Fencing: Overview, A Brief History, and Why We Should Have a Fencing Club at KMHS


When you think of sword-fighting, you are most likely thinking of intense, bloody battles to the death━but did you know that there is a way you can sword-fight with almost no chance of injury?

Fencing is a sport that was first played in the 18th century, in Europe. Before fencing, there was sword-fighting, which involved a sharp blade with the intention of defeating or harming your opponent. Eventually, sword-fighting was developed into a sport, and in 1896, the weapons foil and sabre took part in the Summer Olympics, except it was different: it was called fencing, and it included a dull blade. The way to win was simple: land a touch on your opponent.

There are three primary weapons used in modern-day fencing: sabre, foil, and épée. Sabre is a “cutting” weapon, where you aim to slash your opponent with any part of the blade. Foil and épée are “stabbing” weapons, where on the tip of the sword there is a button, and to gain a touch you have to press the button against your opponent. Foil only focuses on the torso while épée focuses on all parts of the body━the arms, hands, legs, and head is all fair game. These weapons all have different rulesets and refereeing methods used during bouts.

Fencing is exclusively played by one person versus another, so it is an individual sport. To win a “bout,” you are faced against another fencer, and the first to a certain amount of touches (it depends━it could be a number like 5 or 15) wins. In a tournament, you are placed in “pools,” where you’ll generally fence about 5-6 other fencers. Depending on your amount of wins/touches scored, you will then advanced to single-elimination that will determine the winner of the tournament altogether.

Certain moves can be used in fencing to defend or attack your opponent. Essential moves include the longue and the parry. The lunge is an aggressive and swift motion to land an attack on your opponent. A parry is a movement of the sword blocks the attack, and can often be “riposted,” where you use the parry to your advantage to possibly gain a hit. This allows for endless possibilities and strategies to be used when fencing.

The Georgia High School Fencing League (GHSFL) is an organization that hosts fencing clubs with high school students in Georgia. The GHSFL would host tournaments where you could compete with students all around Cobb County. There is no experience required to join the GHSFL, since you will be receiving coaching. The GHSFL fences using épée exclusively.

Our school currently does not have a Fencing Club, but I am trying hard to start one at Kennesaw Mountain. I have already found a coach sponsor, and it is required that I have a teacher sponsor (no experience required!) to found a Fencing Club.  If you are interested in a fencing club and/or know any teachers at Kennesaw Mountain that would be willing to sponsor us, please let Mrs. Joely Shiver, room 308, the sponsor of the Newspaper Club know so she can contact me. I would love to provide students at Kennesaw Mountain with the wonderful experience fencing has brought to me and many others.

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