Rebel Swords, BYU’s fencing club

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En Garde! Members of BYU’s fencing club, Rebel Swords, look to teach their passion to all interested.

BYU once had a fencing team before Title IX forced the program to be cut. After the sport was cut from BYU, fencers still wanted to practice and compete in the sport they loved.

Two members of the BYU Fencing Club parry during a club meeting in Provo. Photo courtesy BYU Fencing Club.
Two members of the BYU Fencing Club parry during a club meeting in Provo. Photo courtesy BYU Fencing Club.

The BYU fencers began practicing anywhere on campus they could. Eventually, people began to feel uncomfortable with the fencers practicing in the open, and they too tried to shut down the group. Despite all odds, Rebel Swords was formed.

“The name Rebel Swords is because, despite all odds, we are still fencing,” said club president Kristin Pothoof.

The club meets in the Wilkinson Student Center every Tuesday night at 8:30. Students of all skill levels can participate. The club is full of fencers at all levels.

“It does not matter what your background is. After a few times of coming to practices you start to pick it up,” Pothoof said. “It’s amazing at how close you get to someone through stabbing them. I actually met my husband through the club.”

Rebel Swords is open to anyone interested in the sport. It does’t matter if participants have never fenced or if they are fencing champions. The club members are always teaching each other.

“You learn a lot fencing, especially when you lose,” said Eric Jordan, a statistic major and fencer for the past seven years.

There are three forms of fencing: Epee, Foil and Saber. In Epee the point is to stab the opponent anywhere. In Foil, the objective is to stab the opponent in the torso, while in Saber the goal is to slash the opponent anywhere from the waist up.

Rebel Swords practices all three styles.

“Its like fast-paced chess. You have to make quick decisions to beat your opponent,” Jordan said.

Matches are typically the first person to get 5 points. A player gets a point when he or she stabs their opponent. Before and after a match, the opponents need to acknowledge each other and shake hands. Fencing is a gentleman’s sport.

“Other than a few bruises, fencing is actually a safe sport and not too painful,” Pothoof said.

Like most other sports, the more practice someone puts into it, the more satisfaction and skill that person can receive from participating.

“The more you put into the sport the more you get out of it,” said James Ashby, a chemical engineering major and two-year fencer.

Fencing is a sport where a person who puts in the work can see progress. Rebel Swords is holding a beginners’ day Nov. 1 at 1:30 p.m. in the terrace of the WSC.

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