Club Sports profile: Fencing Club

Although not particularly commonly known on campus, Oakland University has a fencing club team that caters to everyone, including a new endeavor accessible to wheelchair users.

A fencer who wishes to remain anonymous joined the fencing team originally as an able-bodied fencer. She later developed a connective tissue disorder, but that hasn’t stopped her from following her passion.

“It helped me get part of my life back that I had lost before,” she said.

In the competitions she has competed in, she earned two silver medals and one gold against a competitor who had competed at the world level in the past. At Oakland, she has taken the lead for the wheelchair fencing program, which she said was more of a beta year for the program. For the coming fall, she hopes to launch the official wheelchair fencing team.

The fencing team does not have all the proper equipment needed for the wheelchair fencing, but are working on raising funds for it and they are in the process of building the necessary equipment.

Current President Eric Seidel, who is a junior studying bioengineering has been a member of the fencing club since his freshman year. As president, Seidel must enter negotiations with other schools and the Midwestern Fencing Conference to organize a schedule. He also helps organize fundraising events in order to help pay for all the club’s operations. Seidel’s favorite aspects of fencing are the athletic ability called fourth and the technique in the footwork to have a strong stable base while moving quickly up and down the strip.

The team competes throughout the district in the fall and winter semester, as the Midwestern Fencing season corresponds with the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) season. Seidel said he’d hope one day the club could ascend to the NCAA level in the coming years.

The club practices at least twice a week, but they also have a partnership with Renaissance Fencing in Troy where they’re able to practice during the open fencing times.

At the events, the teams compete in squads of three against each other in a group event. When competing, the players compete on an individual level and at the team level accruing power rankings that’ll determine their ranks at the end of the season for the conference championships.

The conference championships are traditionally held at Ohio State University, but throughout the season they mainly compete at Michigan State University, University of Detroit Mercy and Wayne State University.

The club fencing team has a $50 due fee, which is relatively low compared to other club sports. As a member, you are provided with all of the needed fencing gear, time with the certified coaches, the time at the Renaissance Fencing Club, and all the competitive meets.

Fencing is a chivalrous game, anyone who challenges to start fencing will be faced with the many facets of the game. Not only is there strategy and technique but there is an athletic element that demands speed, agility and endurance to master the art.