Lunging into the Fencing Club

By Shianna Gibbons

Students that want to pick up a new hobby or join a student organization can take a stab at the Fencing Club.

The Fencing Club is open to all Youngstown State University students, regardless of prior experience. The club teaches students everything from proper footwork to the different forms of fencing. 

Jasper Sharpless, the club president and a senior anthropology major, said the club does not participate in fencing tournaments, but builds proper techniques through practices with the week.

The first thing that they have to nail is footwork. It’s the most important part. We have them do a bunch of drills and stuff … Once they’ve got footwork like relatively down — we give them a sword — which is the part that everybody is excited for,” Sharpless said.

The Fencing Club uses two disciplines of fencing: foil and saber. Sharpless said after being cleared for footwork, first-year members move to foil and then move to saber. Foil is focused on poking or jabbing rather than swinging and lunging.

“Foil is like a good foundational sword, although some people prefer to start on saber, but we tend to see it’s always been like club protocol. Saber [is] very like swinging at each other whereas foil is like poking,” Sharpless said. “We have them start on foil [because] I think that foil also teaches like control [and] good form.”

Sharpless said everyone is welcome to join the club regardless of athleticism.

“It’s okay if you’re not super athletic, like, I’m not athletic. I’ve literally been out for a month and a half now because it was my knee and then my back, but even if you end up not being super athletic or even if you’re not the best fencer on the team, we have a really good community in the club,” Sharpless said.

Jaime Beesley, a freshman studio art major, joined the Fencing Club at the beginning of the academic year because of her interest in weaponry and the club’s fun environment.

We do a lot of actually like team building activities [aside from] sparring with each other. To do [fencing] you have to actually trust the people that are stabbing and attempting to assault you,” Beesley said. “We did an event where we just decided to wash [our uniforms,] watch some movies in the meantime and hang out and get to know each other.”

Dominic Dimailo, a freshman Information Technology major, said he’d recommend new members to join.

“I would say it’s definitely worth trying. It’s a really fun experience. It’s something new that a lot of people haven’t tried. I didn’t think I would like it, and I’m definitely going to be doing it again,” Dimailo said.

For those interested in joining, reach out to Youngstown State Fencing on Instagram.