By Lothar Zimmermann
Spencer McGregor (Kinesiology), the 2017 and 2018 champ in all three disciplines (Foil, Epee, Sabre). Photo Credits: LZ
Lothar Zimmerman is the coach of the UPEI Fencing Team
In 1990, the UPEI Sports Centre opened its doors in time for the 1991 Canada Winter Games. In preparation for these Games as far as fencing was concerned, a test run – the Eastern Canadian Championships – was held in the new facilities in 1990. The sport of fencing was, however, on the UPEI scene long before that. A fencing club was started by Prof. Lothar Zimmermann at Prince of Wales College in 1967 and continued within the newly born Island University. In fact, the Fencing Club has been around for over fifty years.
Part of the attractiveness of the sport lies in the fact that it is different from all other sports and will, therefore, appeal to those who would like to engage in something a bit out of the ordinary. Fencers are a rather self-reliant and independent group of people. Their sport is one of the few, and an Olympic sport at that, where the individual is entirely dependent on himself/herself. Even though you may at times form part of a squad of four fencers, you are alone with your opponent and must rely entirely on yourself, using your mental and physical attributes to the maximum. As it takes a rather high degree of analysis to decide what to do at a given moment with the physical skills available, fencing appeals to the person who likes to think himself/herself through a maze of possibilities. As someone said, fencing is like playing chess while doing the 100-meter dash, surely a bit of an exaggeration.
Fencing, whether done recreationally or competitively, is an ideal game to foster sportsmanship and discipline, and one of the finest for conditioning mind and body. Coordination, balance, agility, quick perception, keen sense of timing, and physical endurance are developed in the process. Because in fencing one does not rely in the first instance on physical strength, but rather on skill and intelligence, opponents, whether male or female, fence one another on equal terms.
Because fencing is an excellent sport to practice while engaged in studies, the UPEI Fencing Club was formed and is consequently open to all interested male and female students. Besides striving for the benefits of the sport listed above, the Club aims to encourage comradeship between the members as well as with those of other universities met in competition and thereby enrich their university experience.
While the fencing events in the 1991 Games had an age restriction outside the reach of the regular university student, the upcoming 2023 Games define the eligible fencer as under 23. So, here is your chance. Try the sport, it may be the one you have always been looking for – the first two sessions are free, equipment is provided – and join the Club either as a recreational or competitive member. Training sessions are usually scheduled for Saturday morning and for one weekday evening session. Your choice. Check out schedule updates: www.people.upei.ca/fencing