CRLS Fencing: A Multidisciplinary Sport

Kristen Chun and Alma Barak

The CRLS fencing team has been off to a flying start this season and is now preparing for the upcoming State Championships. At their last tournament, the team went up against four other schools and, with the combined efforts from the three different disciplines—saber, épée, and foil—came home with an overall victory, qualifying them for states.

Not only has the fencing team performed especially well this season, but they have also bonded as a team. Jaeyi Song ’24, an épéeist from the épée squad, told the Register Forum, “It’s just great to be able to practice together, and there’s a lot of really good people on the team.”

Not many people know that the team exists or even how the sport works.

Finn Graham ’26 from the foil squad also described the fencing team as a welcoming environment to the Register Forum. “I have a lot of friends and think it’s a pretty supportive community,” he said. “The captains do a good job at making it a positive place, and we learn a lot in addition to having a good time.”

Many lasting memories have been made throughout the season from each weapon. In particular, Coach Gregory Berger mentioned, “My favorite part of the season so far has been one specific bout that the foil fencers fenced—the women’s squad—when we were down by two [bouts] and made changes to the team line-up. [They] stepped up and killed it and won by four bouts [out of a total of nine bouts].”

Despite these achievements, fencing is often relegated to the sidelines of CRLS sports; not many people know that the team exists or even how the sport works. Finding recruits has been a challenge. Nicolas Valayannopoulos-Akrivou ’23, captain of the men’s épée squad, explained to the Register Forum, “We’ve been trying to break this stigma and stereotype that fencing is the sport you join just to get your PE credit.”

In fact, fencing is extraordinarily complex: not only is physicality required, but strategy and brainpower are heavily utilized as well. For this reason, studies have found that there isn’t any one physical characteristic that predicts a player’s success at the sport. Fencing is a game of feints and counterfeits, one where every move relies on analyzing and reacting to your opponent. It’s a game of mental chess: an art easy to learn, but difficult to master. “It exercises every part of your body—your legs, your torso, your movements, your agility, and your reactions,” Berger told the Register Forum. “We need to convey that and attract more people who want to come, practice, and sometimes have doughnuts.”

The CRLS fencing team may be relatively small compared to other sports, but their success is great. CRLS fencers will compete at the State Championships on February 26th and expect to be seeded highly. “I’m excited for states,” Armando Gutierrez ’23, a senior on the fencing team, said. “My favorite part of fencing is when we’re competing, doing bouts together as a team, engaging and getting in that mood, getting that rush—trying to get that point, and trying to win.”

This article also appears in our February 2023 print edition.