The two students yelled as they lunged their sabers at one another in distinct succession. There was a block, or parry, in return, followed by another lunge, all to show the proper form of fencing. These students share a love of the sport of fencing and want to bring it to Shippensburg.
Two Shippensburg University sophomores, Kevin Rezac and Samuel Gau, have begun the process of making a fencing club on campus and are trying to collect interest around campus.
Gau has been fencing for around eight years and Rezac, for about three years. Joining the group may require a fee to help cover costs of the equipment and protective gear. Currently, prices are unknown, but the two are discussing fees as well as other particular things for the club with various sources. They are also debating making a free trial for interested members for a week or so before charging the membership fee.
The cost would be primarily toward buying more protection for the fencers. In a sport like fencing, says the two, safety comes first.
“Your goal is to not harm the opponent. It’s a game of skill and strategy, like chess,” Rezac said. “Safety is first.”
Equipment used in fencing includes jackets that cover everything from the wrist to the neck to the crotch, as well as special gloves, metal masks and thick cloth bibs to protect the neck. Some fencers use an extra chest guard.
The sport also includes three different types of weapons. The epée, is traditionally used to do stab motions and has a larger guard around the hand. The foil, used also for stab motions, has a smaller guard and aims for the torso. And the last is the saber, with a guard that loops around the knuckles, and they are used to stab and slash with.
Fencers choose which weapon suits them best, but they must face an opponent with the same weapon.
Nearby colleges and areas that include fencing include Wilson College, Penn State University, Gettysburg College and the Carlisle Fencing Club. Gau frequently goes to Wilson College to compete with others who fence, but he would love to be able to do it here at Shippensburg.
So, why do the two think that the club should be created at Shippensburg?
“It’s a very enjoyable sport that many people recognize and know about. I feel like more people should know about it,” Rezac said. “Shippensburg would really enjoy having fencing here.”
“The cultural diversity it would bring to Shippensburg University is priceless,” Gau said. “And also, it’s tremendously fun.”