Friday, 09 February 2018 06:18

Fencers take part at Chinook Open in Swift Current

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University of Saskatchewan fencer Brianna Jansen (at left), who is from Swift Current, strikes at Alicia Spanier of Regina's East Zone Fencing Club during a senior mixed épée bout. University of Saskatchewan fencer Brianna Jansen (at left), who is from Swift Current, strikes at Alicia Spanier of Regina's East Zone Fencing Club during a senior mixed épée bout.

Fencers of all ages displayed their skills with a sword at the 2018 Chinook Open in Swift Current, Feb. 3 and 4.

 

The Swift Current Fencing Club hosted the two-day tournament at the Swift Current Comprehensive High School.

Swift Current Fencing Club Coach Lisa Hagen, who also competed at the event, said about 42 fencers participated in the event, including nine local fencers.

“We had a new event for our under 13 épée fencers and it went well,” she mentioned. “The rest of the tournament went well. We had lots of good fencing that was done this weekend.”

Fencers compete in three different weapon categories. Épée and foil are thrusting weapons, but the épée is heavier, and the sabre is a light cutting and thrusting weapon. The rules for each weapon is different as well as the target area for scoring points.

The new mini épée events take place at tournaments to give younger fencers an opportunity to compete and get familiar with the sport.

“We have a lot of very young athletes in the province and to help them out with getting a chance to fence against new fencers, we’ve created an under 13 and an under 10 mini épée event,” she explained. “The difference between the regular event is that they’re using a foil, which is a smaller weapon, but the target of the épée-ist, which is the whole body. So it allows them just to get out of the club and experience a tournament without having a whole lot of stress of needing to win. They can just come, and have fun.”

The tournament was attended by fencing clubs from Asquith, Prince Albert, Regina, Saskatoon, the University of Saskatchewan, as well as Medicine Hat.

“Our tournament pretty much falls right in the middle of the season,” she said. “Some of our more experienced fencers just got back from a tournament in Quebec City about two weeks ago. So they're just starting to get back into the groove of things, and provincials are going to be held next month in Regina. That's pretty much the next tournament we're looking at.”

This is the Swift Current Fencing Club's thirteenth season. She started the club and she has been involved in the sport for 15 years. She enjoys coaching and tournaments provide a good opportunity for club members to use their fencing skills in a competitive setting.

“It is fun, because we get to events like this and I get to see what they've actually learned,” she said. “Here they're applying what they've learned and it's such a great feeling. A lot of these kids, if they stay in the sport long enough, it almost feels like they're always been there and it's hard when they leave to go to school or what not, but it is great to see these young athletes grow and adjust and become the fantastic young people that they are.”

Two of the club's fencers, who are nine and 12 year old, participated in their first competition at the Chinook Open. Hagen is the only coach at the club, which means that the club cannot have more than 15 members during a season to ensure that each fencer receives appropriate attention during training. Club numbers will vary, but in recent years there have been around 10 members.

“This year have about nine fencers that are still in the club in the second half,” she said. “Earlier in the season we had a beginner class for eight, nine and 10 year olds, which ran for about half an hour before the regular class, and as we moved into the second half of the season those that want to continue are now moved into the big class, but only there for an hour, and they'll go until the end of the season.”

Fencing can sometimes be intimidating to those who are not familiar with the sport, but she noted it is one of the top five safest sports at the Olympics, despite having the second fastest moving part of any sport in the Olympics. Shooting events have the fastest moving part, when a bullet leaves the barrel of a marksman's gun. 

“The tip of our blades is slower than the bullet leaving the gun, but it's faster than pretty much anything else,” she said.

Strict rules and requirements with regard to protective clothing and equipment ensures that   fencers have a low risk of injury.

“Everything fits into place for safety and if somebody doesn't have the proper equipment on they're not allowed to fence,” she said.

From her experience as a coach she believes fencing has many benefits for young people who participate in the sport.

“There's such an opportunity to learn and to make really close friends, because we are a small group in the province,” she said. “It doesn't matter what club they're from, the kids are all friends. You get the chance to do some travel, and it's a sport that not only tests and trains your physical body, but it also helps you mentally. It's very much a sport where you're trying to outthink your opponent instead of outplay your opponent. It makes the brain work, and leads to improvements in their school work because their concentration is better. If they're not concentrating on their fencing, they get hit.”

The sport is suitable for people of any age and with different physical abilities. The age of fencers at the Chinook Open varied from eight to over 70 years, and there was also an event for wheelchair fencing.

Anyone who wants to know more about the Swift Current Fencing Club or who wants to learn more about the sport or try it out, can contact Hagen by sending an e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Below are the results for the Swift Current Fencing Club from the 2018 Chinook Open:

U13 mini épée: 1st Nathan Roberts, 2nd Taylor Collier, 3rd Kendra Lacasse and Garrett Wentworth; U13 mixed foil: 2nd Dylan Lacasse, 3rd Taylor Collier, 5th Nathan Roberts, 6th Garrett Wentworth; Cadet mixed épée 2: 5th Carianne Hunter; Cadet mixed foil: 3rd Ian Lacasse, 8th Carianne Hunter, 9th Nathan Roberts; Junior mixed foil: 3rd Ian Lacasse; Senior mixed épée: 6th Lisa Hagen.

Read 234 times Last modified on Friday, 09 February 2018 08:44
Matthew Liebenberg

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