LU Fencing Club makes a comeback

Although a rather small club, Liberty University’s fencing club is not lacking eager and spirited students who are interested in the art of fencing. The club is run by its president Sean Ryan and secretary Allie Barrett.

While the fencing club has been around for 11 years, Ryan and Barrett are more recent members. Ryan joined the spring semester of this year, while Barrett joined the fall semester of 2021. Both came to know the world of fencing for different reasons. For Ryan, he loves the competition fencing brings, as well as the challenges of the sport. 

“It’s very challenging mentally and physically,” Ryan said. “So, you really have to push yourself.”

For Barrett, she became intrigued by one-on-one sword combat at a young age after watching the fantasy movie “The Lord of the Rings.” 

“I found out that fencing was a thing that actually existed, something I could actually do as a sport,” Barrett said.

The fencing club meets twice a week in a DeMoss classroom. Each meeting starts with either a devotional time once a week, or just a quick prayer before each session. After that, the members stretch and once they are ready, they begin the many drills set up for the day. Once the drills are completed, the members start fencing.

At the beginning of each season, those who are new to fencing and the club itself will spend the first couple of meetings learning about the history of fencing and the terminology associated with it before they begin the swordplay.

“We want to work them up and make sure they have the ability to handle the more physical aspect of fencing,” Ryan said. 

The goal for the new members at the first few meetings is to make sure they have all the knowledge needed to keep them safe while fencing. The team this season will be split into two groups: one group being more recreational, just for fun, and the other group for students who want to experience more competitiveness in this sport of swords. 

Unfortunately, when the year 2020 arrived with COVID-19 in full swing, many club teams around campus had to stop competitions, including the fencing team. Before COVID happened, the fencing team did multiple activities, events        and competitions. 

“They used to do competitions, more events and full-on drills,” Barrett said. “They even had a head coach who used to make the team run endurance drills.” 

Unfortunately, the fencing team has not made it back to its competition days, but Ryan hopes to change that this season as part of his presidency. 

One thing the club focuses on is the importance of community. Built to be welcoming to new members, the fencing club encourages fun and friendly rivalry among the members, which helps boost each person in strengthening their abilities. The devotionals once a week help to create community among the members as well as further each person’s spiritual growth.

Since the pandemic has brought a shadow over the fencing club, Ryan’s goal is to bring it back into the light. 

“We’re going to try to get into the Club Fair this semester,” Ryan said. 

Additionally, Barrett also hopes to plan more events. 

“I’m going to be engaging on Instagram a lot more,” she said. “I’m going to make more content for people who keep up with the club…and, as a club, we’re going to focus more on outreach this semester.”

For more information on the fencing club, follow its Instagram @libertyufencing.

Pickard is a feature reporter for the Liberty Champion.

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