Ritika Poddar, ’18, and Alex Spitzer, ’19, participate during fencing practice on Tuesday, April 5, 2016. The teammates battled for several minutes and shook hands when the round was done. (Alexis McGowan/B&W Staff)

Club Corner: Fencing club exercises mind and body


Students may have seen them with their masks on, sword fighting on the UC Front Lawn during the fall club fair.

Lehigh’s fencing club meets every Tuesday and Thursday in Grace Hall from 7-9 p.m. The club is student run, welcomes beginners as well as experienced fencers and provides equipment for members who do not have their own.

Club president Hyowon Park, ’16, joined the fencing club after a friend’s sister in the club asked her to come to a few practices.

Park said the more she got into fencing, the more she learned about its meaning and the technicalities behind it, which further drew her in to the sport.

Ben Weinfeld, ’17, said this fall, the club had the most applicants they have had in a while. He said they got a lot of attention after they did the live fencing exhibition during the club fair.

“I knew I was going to be involved with Lehigh fencing from the moment I applied (to Lehigh),” Weinfeld said. “I knew that if I had a chance, I would definitely love to continue fencing here.”

Each semester, the club tries to partake in at least a few competitions, including the Swarthmore Invitational and the Temple Open in the fall. In the spring, club members attend the Southern Atlantic Conference of the U.S. Collegiate Fencing Conference, which is the division that Lehigh belongs to for fencing.

Weinfeld said they also try to plan fun events such as an end-of-the-year tournament with Swarthmore College.

Members are divided into three squads based on the type of weapon being used — foil, epee or sabre — and each squad has a captain who teaches for their specific weapon. The club encourages members to try out each of the weapons, and most members choose one in which to specialize. Each weapon has its own style of fighting and rules associated with it.

In sabre, the target is the entire body above the waist. This is the most fast-paced fighting. In epee, the entire body is the target and it tends to be the slowest pace. Foil is in-between and the target consists of only the torso.

“It is a really intellectual sport,” Johanna Ebers, ’17, said. “It is like chess at 300 miles an hour. You have to do so much thinking and it’s a really good workout, so you’re exercising mind and body.”

The club is working on hosting a Lehigh After Dark event to gain more attention from Lehigh students and give people a chance to learn the basics of fencing and try it out with their friends.

“It is a good way to find really diverse people,” Park said. “There are people from all sorts of backgrounds that come in.

“I personally love it because I get to see people who I would have never met because their majors are so different or their interests are so different but there is one thing that I can share with them.”

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