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En Guard!
by Gabe Schlesinger, Administrative Assistant

The West Geauga club list four years ago included only swimming, leaving nothing for those who like sword play. Four years ago salvation came to those at West G. who like swordplay, as the fencing team was formed. Their first year was “dynamic” according to Matt Solomon who helped his brother, Ben, form and coach the team as a founder, treasurer, and fencer in the first and second years of the team. Unfortunately, Matt was prevented from fencing in the team’s third year because of a knee injury.

Now, in its fourth year at West G., the fencing team is still in training. As a brief participant in the fencing team’s training sessions last year, that experience showed me just how hard the team works to prepare. Last year the fencing training started right after school with two laps around the school. Someone would then lead stretches for about five minutes before the team would start practicing. This year the team has increased its endurance training to two laps around the track. While a great deal of fencing is physical, the rest is mental.

While it requires physical skill and endurance to fence and stay in the stance, no “touch” can be scored without analyzing an opponent’s strategy and weapon’s position to score when there is an opening. Fencing has also been called “physical chess,” because of the mental as well as physical requisite needed to participate.
The goal of a fencing bout is to score five “touches,” that is to touch the opponent within the target area. There are three weapons used: saber, epee, and foil. The West G. team fences mainly with foil, but there are also some opportunities to fence epee. The target area for the epee is a thrust anywhere. For foil, the target is a thrust to the torso. Finally, the target for saber is to slash or thrust above the waist.

The fencing team works hard to prove that they are, “a cut above,” ordinary club activities !!


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West Geauga High School | 13401 Chillicothe Road | Chesterland, OH 44026 | 440.729.5950