If you’ve been downstairs at the Rec, chances are you’ve seen the Fencing Club in the Activity Center practicing.
However, the art of fencing isn’t as easy as it looks. Club Fencing Coach, Michael Christofis, wants people to know just how physically demanding the sport is.
“The biggest thing that people misconceive about fencing is that it’s not really a sport. In the last 30 years, the sport has become so much more of an athletic exercise. You don’t have to be a great athlete to fence, but you do need to be an athlete to be a great fencer.”
The Fencing Club is always looking for new recruits to join their ranks. They have 20 members on their current roster, and a requirement to remain active is simply attend one practice a week. If you’re interested in joining, walk on into practice and have a crack at it – it’ as simple as that. They host open practices five days a week.
“Most people who join the club have no experience. I don’t think we have a single person who’s currently active on the team, barring one or two, that had any fencing experience prior,” Christofis said. “And even those two individuals had just dabbled in it before.”
The team competes in the Midwest Fencing Conference. They face off against familiar schools like MSU, U of M, Wayne State, Notre Dame, Ohio State and others across the Midwest. Each time they compete, it is set up in a tournament style competition. How the team fairs in the tournaments plays a role in their seeding for the championship in March. To be eligible to compete in the championship, an individual must fence at least seven schools.
Club Vice President, Anjela Wieland, has enjoyed her time with the club.
“It’s made a difference. I’m more motivated especially that I’m part of a team, it’s a great feeling. And it helps hand-eye coordination.”
Joining the club is a commitment, and with hard work comes success. Ask any athlete in the world – practice makes perfect.
“A lot of people come in not expecting it to be an athletic thing. The people who always do the best are the ones who are athletic, willing to self analyze, and also very self motivated. You get out of it what you put in,” Christofis said.
If you’re interested in joining the club, contact Christofis (firstname.lastname@example.org) and drop in at any practice to take a stab at it!