Ready Set? Fence!

Liza Wolfson, Staff Writer

Fencing, the sport of fighting with swords, especially foils, épées, or sabers, has varied in popularity. It was once part of many schools’ physical education curriculum, and many schools had clubs that led to teams competing in inter-school tournaments. However, in the second half of the 20th century, fencing gradually faded from physical education curricula in the United States, as there were worries about “weapons in schools” and the requirement of its expensive equipment. Despite this, youth fencing has remained in some schools. The United States Fencing Association (USFA), has encouraged this through the Regional Youth Circuit Program. High school competitive fencing has grown significantly in the state of New Jersey, with over fifty-five varsity programs. Also, Georgia, in particular, has seen increasing interest in high school fencing. It currently has seventeen schools, with over 350 fencers competing at the high school level. Members hold their own practices and come together once a month during the fall and winter seasons to fence members from other schools such as Alpharetta, Pope, Roswell, and Johns Creek.

Specifically, at Wheeler High School, several athletes have thought about starting a fencing club. Erwin Cai, a graduate of Wheeler, was the 2016 U17 Individual World Silver Medalist. Many students at Wheeler learned about fencing through his accomplishments that were announced at pep rallies and news reports at the school. Today, in particular, sophomore Erica Wu wants to take the initiative to start a fencing club the 2020-2021 school year. “I think there are many students from Wheeler that will be interested in fencing. I figured they might be able to fence RJCC’s.” Wu is looking for a teacher that will sponsor the club. She believes that this is something Wheeler is capable of having. She is willing to provide equipment, as she is already a fencer competing at the elite national level.

Svetlana Wolfson
Fencers from Georgia watching a fencing bout.

Currently, fencing in Georgia is primarily in épée. Fencing comes in three different types: épée, foil, and saber. This is mainly because the high school fencing league only focuses on épée. However, the On Guard High School League of Georgia was created to allow high school fencers to fence all three weapons (épée, foil, and saber).

Finally, USA Fencing is proud to recognize high school fencers across the country who have achieved at a high level on the fencing strip.  Athletes are encouraged to pursue this honor and be recognized as the best high school fencers in the country. In addition to their superior skills in the sport, All Americans exhibit excellent leadership and sportsmanship. These accomplishments can help students achieve their college goals, as their application will stand out significantly.