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North Atlanta Fencing Club Continues Its Strong Advance

Foils+for+Fun%3A+The+school+fencing+team+practices+its+ancient+art+just+outside+the+first-floor+multipurpose+room.+Picture+are%3A+Nicole+Spektor%2C+Lily+Turner%2C+Virginia+Jackson%2C+Gwen+Smith+and+Ciara+Baptiste.+
Foils for Fun: The school fencing team practices its ancient art just outside the first-floor multipurpose room. Picture are: Nicole Spektor, Lily Turner, Virginia Jackson, Gwen Smith and Ciara Baptiste.

Foils for Fun: The school fencing team practices its ancient art just outside the first-floor multipurpose room. Picture are: Nicole Spektor, Lily Turner, Virginia Jackson, Gwen Smith and Ciara Baptiste.

Brandon Flash

Brandon Flash

Foils for Fun: The school fencing team practices its ancient art just outside the first-floor multipurpose room. Picture are: Nicole Spektor, Lily Turner, Virginia Jackson, Gwen Smith and Ciara Baptiste.

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Mythic tales bursting with violent, clashing, clanging sword-fighting knights of old are beloved by many, and it’s easy to see why. Entranced with this Medieval method of combat which prevailed in the days before unstoppable guns, people have made fencing into something immortal, intangible, even legendary.

As exciting as it is, this folktale element comprises only a small part of the sport’s true nature. For one, fencing isn’t a lost art. It certainly endures to this day, although it’s not as renowned as typical sports such as football, baseball, basketball, soccer or even golf. Regardless, that does not mean there’s no effort involved. Much of the time spent when learning how to fence is on footwork, arm movements, and other bodily coordination practice. The actual “fighting” comes later, or at least as a secondary element.

It might surprise some to know that there’s been a fencing club at North Atlanta since last year and that the club boasts 10 members. Its leaders work hard to promote the sports competitive nature and to dispel the notion that fencing has anything to do with fighting. “It’s why we started the club,” said junior Virginia Jackson. “We wanted to teach people there’s a lot more to it than they might think.”

Jackson, who has been involved in the sport for years, is the club’s founder. The club’s sponsor is Coach Andre Regan. The club’s community coach is Kathy Vale. Clubs members meet after school twice a week, on Tuesdays and Fridays, in the school’s first-floor multi-purpose room. Tuesdays are geared toward blade practice and Fridays focus on conditioning drills.

Vale said the group’s meetings are open to anyone with an interest in a sport that combines finessed movement with active competition. “It doesn’t take long to teach someone how to fence but it does take awhile to teach them how to do it well,” she said.

The club has big plans for the near future. Club members plan on competing in some Saturday tournaments with about 500 others from around Atlanta. Another goal is to see the sport recognized by the school as more than just a club. Because the fencing club is not a sport, it receives no school support and clubs members’ parents fund all activities. “It seems unfair to us because really, we’re no less of a sport,” she said.

Regardless of the reason — whether for the mythical, Arthurian vibe or a desire to truly know the sport — fencing club is always welcoming new members. Before long, you’ll be able to compete along with the best of them.

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North Atlanta Fencing Club Continues Its Strong Advance