Fencers are passionate about their sport and they love to share their passion.
In February, Galveston fencer Annabelle Roquemore gave an exhibition of fencing moves to a fourth grade class at KIPP Coastal Village. She went through the positions and footwork: en garde, advance, retreat, passe-avance, passe-arriere, lunge and so on, in her “fencing whites,” foil in hand. We should note Annabelle is not the teacher. She is, in fact, one of the students in Ms. Settle’s class.
On a Wednesday evening in January, between the youth and the teen/adult classes, Galveston Fencing Club members got together for the club’s once a semester Antiques Night. Club president John Trojanowski brought part of his collection of antique swords,
giving fencers a chance to wield artifacts that are a part of the sport’s rich and romantic history. Rapier, colichemarde, small sword, all ancestors of today’s foil, epee and sabre, were taken up by the fencers, taking stock of balance, heft and reach, and exploring fencing actions. This year, the opportunity to explore fencing past increased a bit. Karina Bickert brought her recently acquired 19th century foil, which would have been right at home in a salle d’armes of Victorian Galveston.
A few of those antiques made their way Saturday to Sour Lake, Texas, near Beaumont. Galveston fencers Kathy Machol and John Trojanowski participated in the Bruno Invitational, an annual epee competition, wine-tasting and social event. Sharing a common interest and history was mixed with modern competition, for beyond the romance and history is today’s fast-paced sport in which victory and defeat are often separated by millimeters and fractions of seconds.
Author Douglas E. Richards wrote, “At my son’s first tournament, which was incredibly fun, I realized I was becoming part of a fascinating secret world that only the tiniest minority ever had the chance to experience. I became convinced that many more people would fall in love with the sport if only they were exposed to it. Eventually, I wrote The Devil’s Sword to do just this. An action packed thriller designed to appeal to kids and adults, fencers and non-fencers alike. A book in which three teen fencers at a tournament at Nellis Air Force Base become unwilling pawns in a brilliant plot to steal a super-weapon: a plot that somehow revolves around the tournament. A book that would give readers a taste of what fencing is all about.”
The Galveston Fencing Club meets Monday and Wednesday evenings in the O’Connell School gym. Classes for ages 12 and under run from 6:15-7:15 p.m. The teen and adult class runs from 7:30-8:30 p.m. For more information about the club, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the club’s website at www.galvestonfencing.2itb.com or visit them on Facebook.