Fencing doesn’t get as much press in Montana as other sports like, say, football.
“A lot of people don’t know about it,” said Laura Lee, manager of the Missoula Fencing Association. “People think you’re talking about posts and poles and barbed wire.”
To help grow the sport in the state, four clubs from across Montana gathered in Bozeman this weekend for clinics and a tournament.
About 35 fencers from Bozeman, Missoula, Billings and Helena joined in on the two-day event that included instructions on epee, foil and saber weapons.
Gathered in the Romney Gymnasium on the Montana State University campus, fencers of all ages participated in training sessions throughout the day Saturday.
“The point of the weekend is to get fencers of Montana together,” Lee said.
Athletes get a chance to meet other fencers and learn from one another, Lee said. The clinic and tournament will hopefully build enthusiasm for the sport.
“To grow a club you have to grow the whole sport,” Lee said.
Instructors taught several fencing topics. Movement. Touch. Delivery. Grip. Blade positioning. Methods, mechanics, timing and interpretations.
Instructors Bryan Stafford, Michael Holland, Brian Degal, Chris Leclercq and Kole Fosse hit on them all.
Hailey Renner, 29, is a member of the MSU Fencing Club. Renner said the weekend provided fencers an opportunity to fine-tune their skills.
“Repetition always builds those fundamentals,” Renner said.
Renner has been fencing for about three and a half years. She took a long break from the sport after college, but was itching to get back.
“It’s much better than the gym,” Renner said.
Fencing is challenging, it’s thrilling and it has artistry to it.
“It’s unique,” Renner said. “It’s a fun skill.”
Whitney Bermes can be reached at email@example.com or 582-2648. Follow her on Twitter at @wabermes.