Participating in the sport of fencing provides benefits on many levels. In terms of staying fit and active, fencing is an exerting sport that will give you a good workout and build your strength and endurance. Fencing is also one of the safest sports that you can participate in; according to statistics gathered from the Olympic competitions, fencers suffered fewer injuries than those who played badminton and table tennis--to say nothing of soccer, basketball, and baseball!
But fencing is so much more than just the athleticism. When you become a college fencer, your opportunities to meet and network with people from your institution and schools across the country explode. Fencing doesn't have to end in college, either. Anyone can join the United States Fencing Association (USFA) and compete in tournaments. If you enjoy it, fencing can be a hobby that you develop in college and carry with you through adulthood.
A Brief History of the Sport
Fencing is one of the oldest continuously played sports known to civilization. There is evidence that as early as 1200 BC the Ancient Egyptians had developed a form of swordplay with blunted weapons, masks, and judges. Originally, fencing was developed as a way to practice for duels and combat, but as time went on, it became more recreational, especially after the introduction of gunpowder made skilled blade work obsolete on the battlefield.
The first fencing manual was published in Spain in the late 1400s, and fencing guilds increased in popularity across Europe throughout the Renaissance. As weapons and styles changed, so to did fencing, until the three weapons, foil, epee, and saber, were formally established in the 1700s. When the Olympic games were inaugurated in 1896, fencing was one of the sports included on the original list of 43 events.
Predictably, many famous people have fenced throughout the centuries. For many of Europe's nobility, the ability to fence was a point of honor, and, in the age of duels, a matter of life or death. The sport's reputation as a royal, exclusive pastime, as well as its value for health and fitness, has carried its popularity into modern times. Many famous people in modern history have fenced; Mark Zuckerberg, Neil Diamond, Theodore Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and George Washington are just a few of the many examples.
What Fencing Means to Us