No, they’re not pirates, but the VSU Fencing Club can be seen wielding swords every Saturday afternoon in the VSU Recreation Center.
The VSU Fencing Club became an official club in spring 2009 and is working on establishing itself on campus this semester, according to Chris Mirabzadeh, the club founder.
Mirabzadeh fenced with a local club in Valdosta until it had to close down. He decided to start a club on campus and was able to find others that had a passion for fencing
Right now, many members of the Fencing Club are still relatively new to the sport, according to Fencing Club President, Courtney Bryller.
“At one point, I will start competing, but I’m still learning how to fence,” Bryller said.
When they do start competing, the Fencing Club members will probably compete against other fencing clubs, like Georgia Southern, or they’ll travel to Atlanta where some of the larger fencing clubs are, according to the Fencing Club Treasurer, Phillip Lowe.
For every practice and competition, fencers have to wear a full set of gear. This gear consists of tennis shoes or fencing shoes; socks that go up to the knee, which cover the shin while still allowing movement; pants called knickers, which protect the knee up; a jacket, which covers the arms up the neck; a plastron for the side a person is fencing with, (this helps prevent being hit under the arm) and a mask which has a full metal grill that protects the face and allows full visibility.
“The material used for the gear is strong enough to take 350 newtons of force,” Mirabzadeh said.
Three types of weapons can be used during fencing: the foil, épée, and sabre. The type of weapons determines the type of fighting, Mirabzadeh said.
The members of the VSU Fencing Club prefer fencing in the épée style. The weapon for this has the largest bell, which is what covers the hand at the end of the weapon, and has a longer blade than the other two weapons.
“The Epée style of fighting is the most realistic type of fight because it targets are on the entire body,” said Bryller.
A fencing fight can include any of the dozen general attacks, but the primary attack at the beginning of the fight is typically a lunge, according to Mirabzadeh.
“Sometimes members will use a raquetball room during the week to practice, but they are looking for a more permanent location to practice and hold meetings,” Mirabzadeh said.
The Fencing Club meets every Saturday afternoon in the aerobics room in the Rec Center to learn and practice new techniques.