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Keep Calm and ‘Parry’ On

Zara shares her fencing experiences at QM and why it’s a great society

You may have noticed us wielding wicked weapons (foam swords— and proper blades) at the Refresher’s Fair. We were wearing angelic white jackets on the day (looks can be deceiving), but not only are we fiercely competitive, we enjoy camaraderie. Fencing is a fun, exciting way to keep fit and requires some quick thinking as well as fancy footwork.

What I love about fencing is not only the focus and speed required, but the adrenaline rush. I also love that whatever else I may be working on, fencing is my time to relax and disengage (pun intended). It helps me to think clearly and it’s a real confidence boost – especially if I win! But even when I don’t win there is still always something to be gained from it— it’s all in good sportsmanship and I’ll learn from more experienced fencers on how to improve.

QMBL Fencing club is open to fencers from both Queen Mary, University of London, and Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry. We welcome everyone from beginners to advanced fencers. Full equipment is provided and we all train together. We offer both professional and informal peer coaching in a choice of foil, sabre and epee – most fencers begin with foil. The foil is a weapon judged by right of way convention. This means that by beginning the attack, or taking your opponent’s blade, you ensure that the hit scored will be in your favour.

Another right of way weapon is the sabre. If you are exceptionally fast, and brave, then you’ll definitely enjoy this one. All weapons develop technical skill, but sabre in particular is the weapon that requires your thinking to be faster than your opponent’s blade. Or, if you fancy a game of cat and mouse, try the epee. Precision and patience are key when using this weapon and hits are not judged using the right of way convention.

One of the highlights for me at QMBL Fencing is the team competitions where we compete using all three weapons. Last year, our men’s team were undefeated in their league, won the conference cup and were promoted to the league above. Moving forward into this year, our women’s team are in the conference cup final and are prepped to take on LSE later on this week. Not only do our teams compete in BUCS, but we regularly have our members compete in local and international competitions alike, which are fantastic opportunities to improve. We are also a social bunch and fencing is a great place to make new friends. You’ll find us bowling, enjoying pizza nights and frequenting Hail Mary, to name a few.

Fencing is dynamic; it is a great workout and it is above all a game. It is as much about outwitting your opponent psychologically as it is physically. So join us here at QMBL Fencing where you will learn to keep calm, and parry on.

Image: QMBL Fencing Club

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