CCA Previews ’19: Fencing

By Vanessa Chee (19S03H), Girls’ Captain and Bowen Zhang (19S03I), Boys’ Captain

“There is a beast in every man, and it stirs when you put a sword in his hand.”

— Ser Jorah Mormont, Game of Thrones

Fencing is the physical conditioning of gymnastics with the grace of ballet and the mental agility of chess combined in a sport far more complex and nuanced than you might think from watching The Three Musketeers. There is so much more to fencing than a mere clash of blades. From finding the blind spots in your opponent’s bladework to executing tactics learnt during training, fencing requires both physical prowess and the mental resilience to overcome the challenges on the piste (the flooring used in fencing).

Contrary to popular belief, there are different weapon types in fencing, instead of one. They are Foil, Sabre and Epee, and all have their own unique rules which require different sets of skills that cater to different fencer’s capabilities. Spoilt for choice? Not sure which one suits your physical abilities? Fear not, because everyone is given the choice to try out the different weapons, and our coaches will be there to guide you in your decision making.

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Fencing as a CCA may seem foreign to many, but RJC is one of the few schools which provide students with the opportunity to pick up this exciting and unique sport. Trainings are conducted every Tuesday and Thursday. Training time is maximised fully, and there is a fair share of physical training, practicing drills and sparring. The first hour is usually devoted to basic footwork, before we learn new tactics and spar in our respective weapon groups.

Aside from trainings, there are plenty of opportunities for fencers to gain experience and improve on their skills. Everyone can participate in four to five competitions a year, even if you are inexperienced. These include Novices, Junior Championships and the various Invites hosted by different schools, such as SMU, NUS, HCI, and even by our own school, Raffles! These competitions give fencers an avenue to meet new opponents, test our skills, and prepare us for the incoming interschools. Throughout the years, many of our fencers have done us proud and earned spots on the podium.

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Another competition that our fencers can look forward to is our very own Raffles Invites! Raffles Invites is entirely organised by our own CCA every December, and offers fencers a unique experience that few other CCAs can offer. Every single aspect of the competition is managed by the CCA, from finding referees to transporting and setting up equipment. Every fencer has an important part to play in making the annual Raffles Invites a successful competition. As a bonus, participation for Raffles Fencers is completely free of charge for Invites!

Fencing may seem like an individualistic sport, especially since one fences alone on the piste. However, like any other team sport, hearing your team cheer and support you really makes a difference and maximises your potential in each bout (fencing term for each match). Although we may be opponents on the piste, we are one strong team bound by our passion for fencing and compassion for each other. After all, not only are there individual events, there are also competitions with team events for which our fencers regularly sign up together. Aside from trainings, we also find time to bond as a team through weekly team dinners and fencing outings during the holidays. Trainings may be gruelling at times, but it is with the support of a team fighting for a common dream that spurs us on to greater heights.

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A closely-knit team. An interesting sport. A year-long journey. What are you waiting for? Everyone is welcome to join so see YOU at training soon!

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