ASU fencing club hopes to expand, build community

University fencing club teaches students how to fence and compete in tournaments

The ASU fencing club, now in its 40th year, focuses on growing the sport of fencing and creating a community. 

The club holds practices on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. in the SDFC green gym. 

Henry Villani, a sophomore studying mathematics, is the current president of ASU fencing.

Villani, who has been fencing for seven years, said he immediately fell in love with the sport and wants to see its growth in Arizona. 

One unique thing about the ASU club is that they are the only program in the state that offers all three types of fencing, foil, épée and sabre, Villani said. 

Villani said that although fencing is an individual sport, the club is a community.

Alexa Rose, a senior studying classical civilization and anthropology, is the team captain for women's foil and the spirit ambassador for the club. 

Rose said she had wanted to fence her whole life because of the sport's similarity to ballet. However, the fencing club by her house was only for men.

Now, she wants to expand the sport's female presence. 

“It’s a sad sport to be a girl in,” she said. “We struggle to get full women's (teams). There are double to triple the amount of guys (in the club).” 

Rose said that once you can move past the wires and beeping, the sport becomes easier to understand.

New members should not be hesitant to try the sport, Rose said.

“After a week, you'll see drastic improvements," she said. "It makes you feel powerful."

Rose said fencing allows people to take out their anger and frustration. 

"When you punch someone with a sword, it works out," she said.

Miguel Cazares, a freshman studying electrical engineering, said he joined the club after seeing a video featuring the sport at freshman orientation. 

“I was like 'oh, that looks fun' because I used to watch it during the Olympics, so I decided to join,” he said. 

Cazares said competing in his first tournament was one of his favorite experiences so far. 

“It is a much different experience than practice,” he said. “It’s a lot more intense."

Charlie King competed in the club’s tournament on Nov. 5 and said he has been fencing since 1971. He also runs the Southwest Fencing Club in Flagstaff.

King said he started fencing in college and enjoys seeing the young fencers from ASU and UA progress throughout the year. 

“It’s interesting to see how fast the young ones get better and how quickly they can learn and how fast they can be,” he said. 

King said fencing is a very unique community that he enjoys being a part of. 

“The best thing about going to a fencing tournament is the people,” he said. “There are such good friends here, good people, all a bit quirky or they wouldn't be in fencing. It’s the same people showing up over and over.”

Alexa Rose also said she enjoys the fencing community at ASU. 

“Know that you’ll be a part of a family of nerds,” she said. “We all know each other really well, and we are really good friends, and we are all nerds.”

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