Fencers are en garde at drop-in classes
Twice a week, students have the opportunity to participate in the Fencing Drop-In class. The class practices Tuesday from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Hart 146.
No equipment is required; all the instructors ask is that participants come with campus-approved workout clothing and a good attitude.
Fencing is a drop-in class, which means students can show up whatever days they want, and there are no fees.
The group consists of adept and knowledgeable fencers, and is led by co-captains Jenna Robinson, a senior studying business management, and Tyler Hendrickson, a sophomore studying physics.
Robinson, a nationally qualified fencing instructor, has six years of teaching experience, four of which were here at BYU-Idaho.
Robinson said everyone should come try the class out at least once.
She said the class is designed for students, and that it is run with a college student’s rigorous schedule in mind.
Students are taught different material and techniques depending on how many days they have attended, unlike most other classes that follow a calendar.
First-timers should bring their I-Card, but there is no fee to participate.
After students change into campus-approved workout clothing in the locker rooms, the instructors outfit them with the equipment they need. To ensure safety, fencers must wear a vest, a helmet, and a single glove on their dominant hand.
The sword used in fencing is called a “foil.” Some may be familiar with the terms “epee” or “saber.” These are different kinds of swords that are more dangerous and unwieldy than foils, which is why foils are used at BYU-I for training.
She said she enjoys the sport because it’s such a challenge, both mentally and physically.
“Every person that you fence is different,” Robinson said. “It’s easy for the apprentice to overtake the master.”
Robinson said that many of her past students have taught her moves she had never seen before.
When asked to describe what the sport is like, Robinson said that it is as if someone combined martial arts with chess. Once a fencer has mastered a technique, fencing becomes an intense mind game between opponents.
“I love learning new skills. I love the mental challenge as well as the physical challenge,” said Merrin Field, a sophomore studying history education, who has been fencing since Spring 2012.
“There are a lot of BYU-I students who have ‘always wanted to fence, but just never got around to it,’” Robinson said. “If you’ve always wanted to do it, then do it.”