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Fencing tournament raises funds for club

A room in the Student Recreation Complex looked like a scene from a pirate movie Sunday morning with students slashing and jabbing at each other with foils, sabres and epees.

These sword wielders from the Arizona State University Fencing Club gathered at the SRC to host the fifth annual Bill Hull Memorial Tournament.

Several students dressed in typical fencing uniforms of grey vests, white pants and black face masks took their turns challenging each other to one-on-one duels in hopes of raising money for their club.

The club, which began in 1977, has about 40 active members and is one of the largest fencing clubs in Arizona.

The tournament is held in honor of alumnus Bill Hull, who was a founding member and financial supporter of the club, said member Michael Fenech, a secondary education and mathematics sophomore.

The event was open to anybody with United States Fencing Association membership, and 19 people were preregistered for the tournament.

Money raised from registration is going toward funding the club’s participation in several national tournaments.

Most recently, on April 9 and 10, members from the club competed in the United States Association of Collegiate Fencing Clubs national championship. The women’s team placed second overall.

Though she was one of the members of the team that placed, kinesiology sophomore and president of the club Ashley Kunihiro still found the energy to show up and compete in the tournament Sunday.

Kunihiro began fencing four years ago when she was in high school. She discovered it was something she had a passion for because she enjoys the mental aspect of the sport.

“Sometimes you’ll see these 80-year-old men competing against 20 year olds and they end up winning,” she said. “It’s like a game of chess, you have to be thinking five steps ahead.”

The memorial tournament lasted six hours with two hours dedicated to each variation of the sport. There are three different ways to fence and they each involve a different sword.

Foil is the most rudimentary version of the sport, where points are scored by poking competitors on the torso area.  Epee targets the entire body and sabre is limited to areas just above the waist.

Fenech, who got into fencing nine years ago because he had a love for Zorro, said that epee is the most popular form of fencing because it is the most realistic to real life.

“If you were actually fighting with someone, epee is the form that you would use,” he said.

Chemistry freshman David Dewberry showed up to the tournament to compete in the foil round because he wanted to support his club and he feels that fencing gives him the ability to be aggressive without actually harming people.

“It’s the only sport where you’re actually encouraged to stab people,” he said. “And who doesn’t want to do that?”

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