Straight to the Point: The Colgate Fencing Club

Whether you are an experienced fencer or it is your first time giving it a stab, the Colgate Fencing Club offers opportunities to build fencing skills and find community.

The club practices approximately three times a week and hosts internal competitions, called “bouts,” between its members, with each semester concluding with a fencing tournament, according to first-year member Brayden Barros-King.

“We have usually a conditioning practice, a practice on technique and a long practice in which we do a little bit of drilling and learning, and then it’s mostly doing bouts — which is a fancy term for going against each other,” Barros-King said.

First-year Kat Fechner explained why she wanted to be a part of the club.

“I joined at the beginning of my [first] year — I’ve been fencing for a long time though. I’ve been fencing since I think [I was] 11 and I did it at my local fencing club,” Fechner said. “When I was first touring [colleges] it was the first thing I looked for.”

Fechner described how the Fencing Club contributes to the connections she has built on campus.

“Just coming to practice really brightens my day. The first time I came here I was really nervous, really shy and didn’t know anyone, and now […] some of my best friends are here and it feels like coming home every time I come to a practice,” Fechner said. “I think fencing is really awesome because we accept literally everyone, there’s a place for you no matter what your skill level is, no matter what your interests are, what your personality is. We really are such a fun little diverse group. I think it’s really awesome that you can come in and there’s a place for you and you’ll meet some friends for the rest of your life.”

Senior Ana Jonke is co-president of the club and takes on a coaching role for other members.

“The best part honestly is having somebody actually take your advice to heart and listen to it, and when you see them implement it when they’re fencing,” Jonke said. “You actually see that action happening on the strip and see people thinking through the steps. So when you see people applying that level of strategy, it’s awesome.”

Jonke expressed how the club has built a sense of community and support among its members.

“I’ve never had such camaraderie in a club like this before,” she said. “At the end of the day, I’ve never felt so supported in a group in which I didn’t even really know at the beginning of the semester and last year. It’s amazing to see each of us cheer each other on even when we’re doing badly, or even when we’re doing well.”

Senior and club member Harry Goodin shared his experiences being involved in such a supportive community.

“Just being here all together, especially on the conditioning days where we’re working hard all together […] and you know everyone else is working just as hard as you are and it sort of builds those bonds,” Goodin said.

Goodin also explained how being a member of the club has contributed to his fencing skills.

“Coming back here every single practice and getting a little bit better every single time, you’re not going to see any huge differences in between practices,” Goodin said, adding “but since I’ve started there’s obviously a huge difference […] I came in completely new to this so it’s definitely a bigger change that I noticed.”