Fencing, a complex combat sport with origins dating back to prehistoric times, does not seem like the typical extracurricular activity for high school students. However in Milford, it is a club that keeps on growing.
Often being called “physical chess,” the sport requires a large amount of concentration and precision. The objective is to score points by hitting target areas, which are different per blade type. The three blades, Épéé, Sabre, and Foil, are all of different shapes and sizes, which determine the rules and scoring procedures for each match.
The Milford High School Fencing Club is made up of students at Foran and Law. Along with practicing Tuesday and Thursday nights during the winter season, the club competes in scrimmages against other clubs and teams in the area. Fencers can also compete in various tournaments which vary for level of experience. There is a Novice, JV, and State tournament for top fencers.
Captain Ben Kissinger, senior, who hopes to compete at states for the fourth time, considers fencing a lifestyle. “I have been fencing for 8 years now,’ he states, “My Dad fenced in college, and we wanted to do something together, so we joined the city’s rec. club, that we are now in charge of and run.”
According to Head Coach Mark Kissinger, who is also Ben’s father, many high school fencers volunteer at rec. club practices on Monday and Wednesday nights to help train the kids. “We love having students helping out year round with the younger fencers, as they can pass along their love of the sport,” he says. “Also, teaching beginners helps experienced kids better understand the tactics, moves, and rules of the sport, thereby improving their understanding in the process.”
Besides the volunteering opportunities, fencing has provided students with many beneficial experiences. According to junior Matt Rothchild, who has been fencing since he was in sixth grade, “Fencing has helped me become better at problem solving and being a leader that people can look up to. My favorite part is the family that the team naturally creates.”
With 11 members last year, the club will be gaining at least four more members this year. Although they are growing in popularity, they still would like more people to join. “We would love a bunch of new fencers, as it is the best sport in the world.” says Coach Kissinger.
For any students interested in joining, they can contact Ben or Coach Kissinger at firstname.lastname@example.org. The best part about joining: there is no experience needed. According to Coach Kissinger, “Since fencing is an uncommon sport we don’t expect anyone to have any experience, and since we are a club we don’t have tryouts – everyone participates and everyone fences.”