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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 18, No. 1. March 3, 1954

The Art of Fencing — University Swords Club

page 8

The Art of Fencing

University Swords Club

The College Swords Club is an active and influential body in the sporting life of Victoria and each year welcomes beginners to the art of fencing. The Club meets in the Lower Gym. on Wednesday evenings at 7.30 and anyone interested in learning this new, interesting and healthful sport should attend the Annual General Meeting (which will be advertised) or come along on a Club night. While the elementary principles are being learnt a pair of sandshoes is all that is required.

In the beginning, one's fencing career moves slowly—it is necessary, for instance, to learn the names of the parts of the foil, the most Important weapon in the armoury and the one which is first taught. Next, the new pupil must learn how to hold the foil, and also how to hold his or her body in the way that generations of fencers have discovered to be the most efficient. It also happens to be the most graceful, and the body-control learnt on the fencing floor can have a definite carry-over into everyday life.

This is not to say that the Swords Club is practically a charm school. The sport of fencing has its basis in the art of swordsmanship, and the combination of assured self-defence and imaginative and well-planned offence can make it one of the most fascinating and rewarding of individual sports. And consider the speed at which all this takes place-so fast, indeed, that it takes five people to referee two fencers. These people (four corner-judges supervised by a President) must be able to describe each movement as it is executed during a bout, and to be a competent corner-judge is part of the duty of every fencer worthy of the name. In this way, and in the repeated analysis of the fencing styles of others, fencers gain confidence and experience which stands them in good stead when they meet strange fencers from other clubs or Colleges.

Winter Tournament . . .

The climax of the University fencing year comes at Winter Tournament in August, when teams from all Colleges meet for competition. Victoria has done well in this, and has an enviable reputation for sportsmanship as well as for efficiency. This year the tournament is in Wellington and as host College we have added responsibilities, we will also have added pleasure, for the N.Z.U. fencing crowd are extraordinarily pleasant people.

The other weapons taught in the Club are the sabre and the epee. Each of these has its peculiar characteristics and will inevitably gain its adherents. Arrangements will be made for classes in these weapons to be held when members have an adequate knowledge of the foil.

The Club has lockers where personal equipment may be left, and for those unable to come on Wednesdays there is a smaller and less official group which meets on Saturday morning. All those interested in learning more about the sport are cordially invited to make themselves known on either day. Tim Beaglehole is the Secretary and Ian Free the Treasurer. Tea is served on Wednesday nights. We look forward to seeing you.