First-time fencers put on gloves and lined up for lesson one, as the Van Diemen Fencing Club celebrated its 10th anniversary on Saturday, July 3.
The Kingborough Chronicle went along to check out the fencing action at Tarremah Steiner School Hall in Huntingfield.
Van Diemen Fencing Club founding coach and President of Tasmanian Fencing Association Inc, Avery Holderness-Roddam, said the club has been integral in raising the level of the Olympic sport in Tasmania over the past decade.
Members include kids, teens and adults.
“We encourage new fencers of all ages,” said Avery.
“Many fencers start learning to fence later in life.
“A large number of fencers continue into their seventies.
“Our oldest member is Brian Sibson, who is 86 years old and lives in Kingston.
“Brian regularly coaches our senior fencers.
“Fencing is not just a guys' sport, in fact Tasmania's most successful fencers at Nationals have been women in recent years.
“We want to encourage more women and girls to take up fencing.
“It's a fun and challenging sport.”
Fencers wear specially designed masks, padded clothing and gloves and use an epee, foil or sabre.
Fencers salute their opponents before and after a bout.
Avery said the sport has a few misconceptions
“It's actually one of the safest Olympic sports,” noted Avery.
“Injuries only occur when a fencer doesn't warm up correctly prior to training.
“The sport is very affordable, costing less than two coffees a week, and we provide all of the clean and safe equipment.”
Avery said the club celebrates diversity.
“We aim to make it accessible to everybody, no matter what their background is.
“Fencers aren't separated into category by gender unless they’re in a large tournament, and we're working on ways to make non-binary individuals feel more included.
“There are adjustments that are made for fencers with a range of disabilities.
“Wheelchair fencing is a recognised sport at the Paralympics.
“Fencing is great for deaf and hearing-impaired individuals as the lights indicate when a touch is scored and referees use standard hand gestures to communicate their decisions.
“Fencing can even be adjusted so that fencers with little to no vision can fence,” Avery concluded.
Pictured: Excited youngsters put on gloves, ready for their first fencing lesson, as the Van Diemen Fencing Club celebrated its 10th anniversary, at the Tarremah Steiner School in Huntingfield, on Saturday, July 3.