The Kennesaw State Fencing Owls is a club sports organization that is growing, focused on competition and open to students of all skillsets.
Founded in 2012, the club has gone through a resurgence due to the increasing popularity of fencing and the population growth of KSU, said Fencing Owls coach and Part-Time Instructor of Health Promotion and Physical Education John Terris.
“If you’re thinking about joining fencing, now is the time to do it because we are taking big steps,” Fencing Owls Vice President Glenn Cagle said.
In the past two months, the team has competed in two tournaments, one of which was the “Halloween Hack and Slash” hosted at the Georgia Tech Campus Recreation Center on Oct. 26 and 27. Here, one of the KSU team members placed in the top eight among 42 competitors.
“I think that we are on track this season to compete in what I called the ‘Big Four’ — University of Georgia, Georgia Tech, Clemson University and the University of Florida,” Terris said. “I’m proud of the fact that the club has really been driven this season to go out and actively gain competition experience as a team.”
Though fencing looks like a sport that requires specialized skills, much of the footwork and coordination involved can originate from performance sports such as gymnastics and color guard. Since over half the club began fencing in college, the fear of skill level should not deter students from joining, Cagle said.
“It’s different than anything I have done before,” Fencing Owls President Kenzi Waddell said. “I used to do color guard and a gymnastics [sic.], performance kind of sports.”
Fencing yields three different disciplines — Épeé, Foil and Sabre — the first of which is primarily practiced by the Fencing Owls. Within this system, a point is awarded to an opponent when they strike their opponent in the target area. The target area consists of anything from the mask to the toes of the fencer.
In order to record hit points, wires are routed from a scoring machine and attached to the fencer’s uniform. From there, the wire connects to the weapon via a scoring reel, and a score is recorded when the button at the tip of the weapon is pressed.
In addition to the electronic equipment, nearly all of the gear necessary to practice fencing is provided by the club.
“This includes a plastron, which is something that goes underneath your jacket to protect your arm,” Waddell said. “Women wear breastplates, which is just hard plastic.”
Both Waddell and Cagle said that the Fencing Owls are both a great friend group and sports team. They encourage those looking for a place to fit in and be physically active to give the Fencing Owls a try.
The club currently hosts around 15 regular members of varying skill levels.