Started in late 2019, the Fencing Club at Auburn University aims to create an environment where both beginners and masters can participate in the sport of fencing.
Today, founders Jay Parcelewicz, Hudson Defee and Luke Walker lead the club. Together, they are focused on building a group that is accessible to everyone but also provides a platform to pursue competitive fencing for those who wish to do so.
“It can be as casual or competitive as you want," Walker, sophomore in biomedical sciences, said. "It is all about your mindset toward it."
The club is entirely student-led and stands roughly 50 members strong. Practices typically consist of seven to 16 members practicing on any given day.
“We try to give you as many opportunities to practice as you can; you don’t necessarily have to come to all the practices, but you have the ability to take it super seriously if you want to,” Parcelewicz, junior in supply chain management, said.
This mindset speaks to the club's commitment to being flexible, allowing everyone to participate at their own pace. The club is beginner-friendly, as well.
“You can show up with absolutely no fencing experience,” Defee, junior in history, said.
The sport is accessible since it is more mentally demanding than physically demanding. Additionally, the risk of injury is extremely low. Above all, the club's leaders just want people to have fun while they're fencing.
“It’s really cool to say that I’m gonna go sword fight for a couple of hours this afternoon,” Defee said. “How many people can say they learned how to sword fight in college?”
The club also has former Olympian fencer Oswaldo Ortega as a coach on their staff. Ortega trained at the Institute of Sport and Physical Education in Paris. In addition, he was a coach of the Venezuela national team for 10 years.
Being a member of the club allows individuals an opportunity to learn fencing from Ortega, as well as other senior students that he has trained.
And while they're focused on having fun, the Fencing Club at Auburn University also provides participants with the potential to improve their skills — Parcelewicz was able to compete in the Junior Olympics last year.
“Our club is brand new, and we are already doing well regionally,” Parcelewicz said.
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Ethan Stamper, journalism major, is the campus reporter for The Auburn Plainsman.