By: Jerome Gan (22S06N), Boys’ Captain, and Seoyeon Park (22S06C), Girls’ Captain
“En garde, prêts, allez! (on guard, ready, go)” As you hear the referee’s commands, your body comes to life. Every muscle in your body begins moving in synchrony as you start gracefully moving up and down the fencing piste. At any instant you see an opening, your body explodes into action, your arm, wrist and fingers controlling your blade with the utmost of precision.
Before you know it, you have found an opportunity and you capitalised on it, scoring a point in the blink of an eye. As you return back to the en-garde line, you rack your brain for possible actions, tactics and strategies for the next point. All this happens within a matter of seconds.
That’s the beauty of fencing.
Fencing is a sport that requires both physical and mental prowess. Just raw strength or speed alone is simply insufficient to win a fencing bout. It also requires you to outsmart your opponent.
Fencing originated from European sword fighting, dating back to the 14th century. However, fencing has gradually evolved from its historical origins to the cool sport we now know and love. While the fencing you may have seen at the Olympics looks absolutely nothing like historical 14th century swordplay, many of the moves we still use in fencing such as the different parries techniques and even the three weapons we use, the Epee, Foil and Sabre, have origins that date back to this time period.
Each weapon comes with unique scoring targets, slightly different rules and hence a slightly different style. However, what remains constant are the values and skills that are crucial for one to do well on the fencing piste like discipline, focus and resilience. If fencing sounds like something right down your alley, then perhaps Raffles Fencing may be the CCA for you!
Training is conducted twice a week, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 4.30 p.m. to 7.00 p.m.. Each training session begins with dynamic warm-ups that help to increase our flexibility and range of motion, both of which are highly essential in fencing, a sport where precision and agility are vital. Once we’ve been warmed up, we are split into our respective weapon groups for our individual weapon group training sessions – epee, sabre and foil, which are helmed by our nurturing coaches from the Blade Club Singapore. Our coaches engage us in diverse footwork drills and teach us new tactics every session prior to our sparring bouts.
How training sessions look like *Picture taken in accordance with SMMs during the prior phase of Covid-19 measures.
In a typical year without COVID-19, training would not only be for developing our fencing skills, but also to gear up for competitive events such as the National School Games (NSG).
The NSG is the hallmark culmination of the tireless training sessions for a number of our fencers. Even for fencers not competing in the NSG, there is a panoply of competitions offered for fencers to demonstrate the fencing skills they have acquired over time, such as the Novices and Raffles Invites.
Raffles Invites is a U20 fencing competition organised by Raffles Institution (RI), typically held towards the end of the year. Competitions galvanize our fencers into training with enthusiasm and putting their best foot forward during training sessions. The hard work, coupled with passion, has allowed us to make our school proud as our fencers clinch awards at these events.
Even so, our CCA does not solely focus on the outcome of our competitions. We take pride in the process we have embarked on to prepare ourselves for the competitions and always strive to have sportsmanship. More than anything, we depend on one another and support one another during exam seasons and training sessions!
Joining fencing does not entail a humdrum repetition of training sessions one after another. Being part of this community, regardless of your starting point, will allow you plenty of opportunities that add color to your JC experience.
You may wonder, what makes fencing unique? Fencing is often reputed to be “physical chess” as engaging in this sport requires an amalgam of mental agility and physical dexterity. The coordination of one’s body and mind necessitated by fencing every moment you stand on the piste during a match distinguishes fencing from other sports. Prior to advancing any fencing move, an intricate, split-second calculation is needed to determine how to precisely execute a move to your advantage – and thereafter, with a burst of energy and immense precision, you fight for your point.
So, if you would like to discover if you might be the next Beth Harmon (from the Netflix Show, The Queen’s Gambit) in the realm of physical chess, or just have lots of fun honing your fencing skills along with your peers, consider joining us!
Hope to see you at our trials!
*Cover image taken in accordance with SMMs during the prior phase of Covid-19 measures.