Fencing Ignorance

This is probably the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard: The North Dakota State University won’t allow fencing practice on campus because it violates their weapon’s ban policy. WHAAAA???? First of all, if anyone has ever taken their fencing bag to the airport, you would never call them weapons. They’re SPORTS EQUIPMENT. Enrique Alvarez Vazquez, the NDSU Fencing Club’s adviser and master fencing coach, was equally confused: “I don’t understand why fencing equipment is considered a weapon, why is this equipment more dangerous than a baseball bat or a golf club?” he said.

Sure, fencing blades are made from steel and metals, but that doesn’t make them dangerous. Maybe the President is thinking of the 1900s:

He might lose an eye.
He might lose an eye.

It’s just another case of ignorance against our sport which prevents it from growing and reaching other communities. Anna Kampa, an NDSU senior and club member, said practicing off campus has made recruiting more difficult. “We can’t grow a team if you can’t get to it,” Kampa said. Here’s an article with the news video: http://www.wday.com/event/article/id/96768/

Already, Tim Morehouse has written to the President of the University, pleading for logic to be used:

(via Tim Morehouse on Facebook)

My letter to the President of North Dakota State University regarding the banning of fencing on-campus at the University.

Dear President Bresciani,

My name is Tim Morehouse and I am an Olympic Silver Medalist in the sport of fencing as well as being someone who has been honored at the White House for my contributions to our country via my service with Teach For America as a teacher and through my foundation Fencing in the Schools. I was very shocked to read an article about your university denying the fencing team access to practice on the campus of the school. (http://ndsuspectrum.com/campus-policy-foils-fencing-clubs-on-campus-desire/) The sport of fencing is an Olympic sport and is also an official NCAA sport with both Varsity teams as well as hundreds of club teams around the country at University’s like Harvard and Columbia as well as schools like Penn State, Ohio State and Notre Dame to name a few. Not one time has anyone at these schools or Universities ever mistaken fencing for a real sword fight as your campus safety Officer Director Ray Boyer mentions in the article I’ve cited above.

Fencing teams and clubs offer a great alternative opportunity for students to participate in a sport. Most of the fencing teams in the country have the highest gpa at their respective schools and contribute greatly to their school community. Fencing is also one of the safest sports in the world. No one gets stabbed. Our blades are not sharp. Everything is electronic.

I personally began fencing at the age of 13 at my middle school at a time when I was really struggling in school and with my self-confidence. The sport of fencing literally changed my life and I’ve dedicated my life to spreading it around the country. Through my foundation Fencing in the Schools we currently bring fencing to 10,000 students at both public and private schools across 7 states and I’ve never had an issue of people not understanding that fencing is a sport versus a real sword fight. Our foundation is partnered with Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move and the President’s Council on Physical Fitness as well as a number of other prestigious organizations and this issue has never come up.

I am herby respectfully requesting that the policy be re-considered. I do not think further mobilization on the part of the fencing community locally and nationally should be needed if common sense is applied here. I’ve taught President Obama to fence at the White House and I think if secret service for the President is ok with a fencing saber being within the vicinity of our President that the NDSU campus can handle a fencing team practicing on-campus.

Thank you for your consideration.

Tim Morehouse
US Olympic Silver Medalist
Founder and CEO of Fencing in the Schools

So what looks more dangerous:


OR BrokenBat1








There’s also a nice Reddit thread on this too: http://www.reddit.com/r/Fencing/comments/25aidm/ndsu_bans_fencing_club_practice_on_campus/

Here’s my favorite comment: “… If they want to ban fencing they have to ban baseball, football and every other sport that can harm a person. So every sport, now there’s no gym class ergo America’s obesity problem goes up another notch it doesn’t have.”

Why Do We Fence?

The Fencing Athlete

I had just been eliminated early from a recent World Cup.

Frustrated by my early exit, I wasn’t exactly in the best mood as I changed out of my whites and put on my warm ups. It’s times like this when I find myself questioning my fencing and what I am working towards. Is all the hard work actually paying off? Is fencing really worth the blood, sweat, tears, time and dedication?

After an hour or so I regained my composure and headed back strip-side to watch some fencing.

While I was watching, one of the other Americans, who had suffered a similar fate, came over and started watching the same bout that I was. After talking about the bout for a while, the conversation turned more personal, about our goals and general plans for achieving them. Then he asked me a surprising question:

“Why are you doing this?”


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