Pret? Allez!

12/14/2021

The Four Corners Fencing Club has a GoFundMe project underway to raise money for new foils and to keep membership free. The club is open to people of all ages. By Hannah Robertson.

The sounds of medieval combat ring out of the Veterans of Foreign Wars building on a Tuesday evening, as participants faces hidden behind mesh masks, cross swords. Their teammates cheer them on checking the scoreboard every time it buzzes to see the score. Just another night at the Four Corners Fencing Club. You're watching the Local News Network brought to you by Express Employment Professionals and The Payroll Department. I'm Wendy Graham Settle.

We started the club in 2010 for the purpose of training for modern pentathlon for my son, Seamus Millett, and was quite pleased how many people in Durango came out to participate in fencing, of all ages. At one time, as I say, we had Art Olson coaching, who was close to his eighties. We had Vladimir, a Russian National Champion helping. So there are actually a lot of fencers in Durango that hide away and then they go oh, fencing. So it's always been a community club, not specifically competition, but we also had some very competitive fencers. Angela Grogan, Seamus Millett, Teslin Stecher out of Mancos, some very competitive fencers.

During the past 10 years, the club has served everyone from Olympic hopefuls to individuals who just want to learn how to fence. The sport, which dates to the 15th century, is sword play. There are certain rules and regulations, depending on the type of event.

It's a very old sport. It's romantic. It's kind of evolved along with ballet and it has a beautiful history. There's several different, or there's three different Olympic weapons. There's saber, epee, and foil. And epee is more, I think, closely resembling real sword fighting. And that's what we do. It's the idea of epee is stab without being stabbed. There aren't right of way rules. And there's no limitations on target area. It's beautiful because once you get past simple parries and thrusts, then it becomes a real mental game after that.

At Tuesday night's practice members used an electronic scoring system purchased with funds raised last year. This year, the club is once again hosting a fundraiser to cover the costs of replacing fencing foils, the swords used during fencing. Club membership is free. No prior experience is necessary. Foils are provided and receive a lot of hard use during the three weekly practices. While the sport is about trying to hit your opponent, foils are designed to not pierce the skin, a broken foil can.

This year, we're focusing on replacing broken weapons. And there's something called a body cord, and they wear out and weapons break, and they wear out pretty frequently, especially at club weapons. A lot of times students aren't really that careful with them, but you know, so what. And so this year we'd like to get a lot more weapons and also it'd be nice to get some publicity as well to bring new students in.

But your style is your style. How you fence is your own, you know. There is function to what we coach, but your style and your thinking is your own. And that's the fun of fencing as you can be yourself and still enjoy it. And it doesn't matter if you fence twice a week, or two times a year.

If you're interested in joining the club or want to learn more, visit www.fourcornersfencing.com. The club is open to everyone, ages seven and up, regardless of previous experience. Membership is free. To donate to the clubs fundraiser, go to www.gofundme.com and search, "Four Corners Fencing. Thanks for watching this edition of the Local News Network. I'm Wendy Graham Settle.

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