Looking for a sport with a bit more panache than the norm? Why not try fencing? We had a word with Malcolm Davies, Treasurer and Sabre Coach of the Cavalier School Of Fencing.
How did you become interested in fencing?
I was one of those kids that ran around with a stick pretending it was a sword. When I saw a foil (one of fencing’s three disciplines) laying around at a friends house I couldn’t help but pick it and slash it around (I was 19). My friend said “Oh yeah, I started fencing. You should come and try it.”
A couple of weeks later I was at my first session and about 30 minutes in I knew I was hooked. I loved the nuance and complexity, the physical demands of the sport, and the one-on-one nature of it. The chance to live out those crazy childhood dreams didn’t hurt its appeal for me either.
How long have you been at it now?
I’ve been fencing for 21 years. I still love to put on my whites and get involved in competitions when I can but these days I spend most of my time coaching. I’m privileged to not only train the current top male and female sabreurs in WA but also a great batch of up and coming kids who want to be the next generation of champions.
What’s the biggest misconception about fencing that non-participants have?
People often come to the beginners course run at Cavaliers with two common misconceptions about fencing.
First off, they expect it to look something like an old Errol Flynn movie; hand on hip, waving a sword around flamboyantly. Good fencing requires great control and precise actions.
Secondly, people don’t realise how physically demanding fencing is or how much they’re going to move around during a training session. Each of fencing’s three disciplines (foil, épée & sabre) are fast and furious in their own way. Make no mistake, if you’re doing it right you’re going to work up a serious sweat.
Who does fencing appeal to in your view?
Fencing appeals to people who want something different from a sport, not just another “run after the ball” type activity. It’s ultimately just you, your footwork, your tactics, and your skill with a sword against those of your opponent, but without the concussions of something like boxing. From that perspective it also attracts highly competitive people.
It also has a real sense of history and intricacy that will draw in someone who likes to “think” as well as “do.” It’s a very tactical sport and very as well.
One of the great things about fencing is that appeals to, and can accommodate, people of just about any age. All major clubs run beginners sessions or courses and welcome kids to veterans. For example, Cavaliers has a fencer who recently attended the Commonwealth Veterans Fencing Championships in the 80+ age category.
For more information, head to cavaliers.com.au