By: Alastair Tam (20S06N), Boys’ Captain, and Yasmin Tay (20A01C), Treasurer
Did you know that the fencing sword is the second fastest moving object in sports after the marksman’s bullet? Pretty cool, huh? Due to the likes of pop-culture icons such as Captain Jack Sparrow and Obi-Wan Kenobi, sword fighting is vastly misrepresented. In reality, a lot more than the mere clashing of swords is required for victory. Apart from the extreme physical prowess required to outmanoeuvre opponents on the piste, a lot of mental dexterity is also required to strike at the opportune moment.
The first historical evidence of fencing dates back to as early as 1190 B.C. From then, fencing has evolved tremendously. Comprising three different weapons, épée, sabre, and foil, fencing has more variety than one might think. Now you may ask what the differences are between these weapons—and that would be the rules and characteristics of the weapons. Épées are the heaviest among the three, and have a large umbrella-shaped guard to protect the wielder’s hand. The rules of épée dictate that the entire body is a valid target area, and that the first person to hit their opponent scores a point. Sabre is the weapon that favours speed the most. Possessing a U-shaped guard, it is the most recognizable amongst the rest as movies most commonly use sabre blades. Aggressive and swift, sabreuers aim to land the tip of their blades on the opponent’s electric jacket and mask. Foils are the lightest of the three weapons, but do not underestimate them on account of their weight! The target area for foil covers the torso, up to the neck, giving it the smallest target area of the weapons.
Fencing as a sport is unorthodox in Singapore, let alone as a CCA. With all the physical prowess and mental dexterity needed as mentioned above, it is no surprise that training would be rigorous. Do not let this faze you, though! After training hard alongside your fellow fencers, satisfaction is promised. After all, no pain, no gain! Conducted on Tuesdays and Thursdays, trainings comprise not only physical training, drills, and sparring, but we are also no strangers to games.
Aside from training, fencers can also look forward to competitions. Competitions are platforms for both experienced and inexperienced fencers to hone their skills and even meet new people. Some of these competitions include Novices, Junior Championships, National School Games and Pesta Sukan. While many of our fencers have done the school proud over the years by winning medals, winning is not the most important aspect of participating in these competitions. Instead, it is the lessons learnt from mistakes made, and the camaraderie forged between you and the team, striving towards a common goal.
Another exciting event to look forward to is our annual Raffles Invites that we plan and host! Open to participants across Singapore, we are given the chance to compete and make friends with fencers from all walks of life. Every fencer in the CCA becomes an integral part of the organisation and execution of this event. What’s in it for our own fencers? They get to participate for free!
Contrary to popular belief, fencing is more than just an individual sport. Without the support of your coaches and teammates, especially amidst times of adversity, you would definitely feel desolate. Bonding is an extremely important part of our CCA, and we hope to be a pillar of support for each other in the tumultuous ocean that is JC life. Regular team dinners after trainings, signing up for competitions together, and enduring the at-times gruelling trainings all serve to strengthen the bonds between us. At the end of the day, what we value most isn’t the results we get in competitions, but the relationships and experiences that we gain along the way. There is nothing more gratifying than fencing with a team of people striving for greater heights.
What are you waiting for? Select your weapon and we will see you at trials!