Fencing This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

   I challenge you to a duel! Well, not really. Actually,not at all. In fencing (and I am a fencer), you don't challenge people,especially not to duels. Mostly you just walk up to someone and say, "Hey,you wanna fence?" And then you fence, and no one gets killed.

I ambarely five feet tall and 100 pounds, but that does not stop me from doing wellin this sport. Take, for example, a tournament I was in recently. Each opponenthad a different physique: some were tall, some were short, some werechildren, some were middle-aged, some were men and some were women. People caneven fence from special wheelchairs.

Quickness and control are moreimportant than strength. You have to be able to hit your opponent on his or hertorso with what amounts to a long, flexible stick before he or she hits you, andkeep the right of way. Right of way rules are complex and subjective, so you haveto be able to keep track of who is moving where. Plus, each fencer is alwaystrying to trick the opponent into leaving part of the target unblocked, makingfencing similar to playing chess with nobody bothering to take turns.

Inthis tournament I had managed to claw my way up the ladder to the gold medal boutby defeating mostly bigger, stronger and slower people. The fencer I was about toface had creamed me 5-0 previously. As I watched him fence, I realized his stylewas very similar to mine: he would wait for his opponents to attack, then trapthem into his parry-riposte, giving him the advantage.

When facing off weboth used this strategy, which meant neither of us attacked very much. I scoredthe first point, then he scored, and we went back and forth as the bout draggedon. When time ran out, we were tied at eight. We were given one more minute;whoever scored first would win the bout and the tournament. If no one scored, myopponent would automatically win (as determined by a coin toss).

He triedattacking me first; I was able to block his thrust and set up my own attack. As Iaccelerated into lunging distance, I was able to avoid being blocked and had aperfect opportunity to attack. As I lunged, my shoulder tensed, pulling my aimhigh; I missed over his shoulder. He only had to stick his arm out and he won thebout, leaving me in second place.

Even so, my coach was ecstatic. He hadseen how I had set up my attack and loved it. He is now determined to get me intonational competition next summer. Second place doesn't bother me; I beat plentyof bigger people, and the final bout was so close it could have gone either way.So, wanna fence?

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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This article has 2 comments. Post your own now!

FallenAngel1 said...
May 14, 2012 at 5:51 pm
It was a good article, i am actually planning to join fencing, it is interesting and a good sport, not only for certain people or people of certain physical types. I was just wondering if it was a very dangerous sport, there is a lot of bruising involved i'm sure, but what else? All in all it was a good essay, great job in that bout!! Keep it up!!
cupcakesNbrownies97 said...
Mar. 31, 2010 at 9:30 pm
AHA! like the brginingt. And i had NO idea on what it was about. i just thought it was two guys trying to poke eachother with sticks ;D
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