Fencing: chess with muscles

One recreational sport is described as “chess with muscles.” This sport requires strategy, patience, precision, mentality and focus. I am talking about fencing, and it’s right here at Northern Kentucky University.

Senior Ron Cole is the president of the Fencing Club, and sophomore Dave Heitz is vice president. The faculty sponsor is history and geography professor Ned Kalapasev, who has experience in fencing. The club has a beginner session and a more advanced session. Before the practices, members go over safety rules for the sport and make sure they are stretched out and ready to move. In fencing, you use muscles that you normally don’t use (according to Kalapasev), so it’s a good idea to have your hamstrings and calves stretched out well.

Then, with the help of John Barringer, a visiting coach, people will learn the footwork and different attacks. Good etiquette and technical skill are important in fencing.

The club provides all necessary equipment, so all new members have to do is show up at practice and learn. Some equipment used is a mesh-wire mask with a bib for neck protection, a plastron which goes underneath a jacket for extra arm protection, cups, a glove for your sword hand and of course, a sword.

The club members participate in some competitions, but they are one person competitions; they do not perform as a team.

The beginner session meets at 4 p.m. on Mondays and 4:20 p.m. on Thursdays in the Albright Center. The 18 members in this club would love to have more people join. “It’s a cool skill to know,” Heitz said.