Hey, Fencing Fans!
And I’m not talking about that white picket in the yard. I mean Fencing—the sport! From a distance, you could mistake this sport for the centuries-old dueling practice of sword fighting. Fencing players are dressed in padded gear which is loaded up with sensors that are designed to mark points scored by your opponent each time they strike it.
While people are naturally concerned with the safety of a sport that looks so similar to sword fighting, Fencing has an incredibly low injury rate compared to other sports like soccer or gymnastics. There’s tons of padding and a full facemask that players wear. And Fencing swords come to a blunt end without being sharp in the least. The only injuries that happen are ones that would with any other sport.
So who was the daring pioneer who saw the art of sword fighting and said to himself, “I’d like to have fun in a swordfight without the risk of serious injury or death”? It was Domenico Angelo from the 18th Century. Sword fighting was part of military training back then, but Domenico considered the enjoyment one could derive from studying the strategy and skill involved in sword fighting without actually fighting.
It was in 1763 that Domenico established Angelo’s School of Arms in London where he taught a class called ‘The Fashionable Art of Swordsmanship’. He established the basics, giving rules to posture and footwork that are still taught in modern Fencing. While his class was meant to prepare the students for real combat with a sword, he always reminded and encouraged the health and sporting benefits in Fencing above its use as a weapon.
Domenico’s family—experts in the art of Fencing—ran the school for a following three generations. They would also remain the reigning champs of European Fencing for nearly one hundred years!
Fencing is an awesome and adventuresome activity! If you’re interested in trying it out for yourself, look into your summer camp’s activities. Do they have a Fencing class available? Maybe your school offers a Fencing class. Otherwise, there’s likely a class you can find elsewhere not too far outside your local area. Have fun with Fencing and, as always, thanks for reading!