Fencing lunges into ISSH

Riposte! (Block, then attack)

Katie, Writer

Fencing originated from swordplay, and was developed in 16th century Europe when swordsmanship schools started flourishing and when the rapier was first invented. Worldwide, fencing isn’t a very popular sport. Fencing wasn’t initially popular in Japan since Japan has an iconic sword fighting sport called ‘kendo.’ Also, fencing gear is relatively expensive with the gear ranging from $100-$200. However, since Yuki Ota won the silver medal for fencing in the 2008 Beijing Olympic games and again in the 2012 London Olympics, fencing has gradually become popular in Japan.

Since the beginning of February in 2015, group fencing lessons have become available at ISSH. So far, five members are in the after school fencing club which takes place every week on Thursday from 4:30 to 6:00. The lively club consists of three junior school students (Alexander, Karen, and Emily), one middle school student (Karen), and one high school student (Katie). Although the fencers must cope with the limited space in a tiny room where the fencing club takes place, the club hopes to gain more members and move into a more spacious room like the AV or the Duchesne Room.

Takahashi Sensei, the instructor for the fencing club, uses creative and entertaining methods to teach students skills necessary for fencing, especially exercises which improve reflexes. Takahashi Sensei  individually trains students one on one, while the other students fight each other, experimenting with unique fencing techniques or using the skills they just learned from the individual lesson. When asked why they started fencing, Karen (3) replied, “Fencing is cool, that’s why I do it.” The fencing class is usually finished with a stretching session since standing in the ‘on guard’ pose can be straining on the muscles.

After the formation of the club, Ms. Hori (who is the mother of one of the fencers and the founder of the club) plans to make fencing more popular at ISSH by establishing a free trial lesson and a fencing demo at Family Festival. There will be three fencing sessions at family festival each lasting for 40 minutes where people of all levels are welcomed. From 1:35-2:00, there will be a fencing demonstration in front of the stage while the faculty band performs. The demonstration will consist of a match between two professionals, and two matches between the students. When the students were asked how they felt about fighting in front of an audience in Family Festival, Emily answered my friends are going to watch.”