On November 20, the men’s and women’s fencing teams hosted their first tournament of the season. They faced off against the University of New Hampshire, Brandeis, Boston University, Wellesley, UMass, and Sacred Heart. The men finished the day 3-2, defeating UNH, BU, and UMass, while the women finished 5-1, defeating every opponent but Wellesley.
Each team in the tournament competed round robin, meaning each team faced each other head-to-head. Three fencers on each team faced all three fencers on the opposing team for a total of 9 matches. This was repeated with all three weapons for a total of 27 individual fencing matches. The team with 14 or more individual match wins out of the 27 was declared the winner.
An individual match is won by scoring 5 “touches.” How a touch is scored depends on the type of weapon used. In a foil match, a touch is given by striking the opponent with the point of the blade. Only the torso is the target area, and touches are awarded based on “right-of-way,” meaning the advantage is given to the person who strikes first. In a saber match, the entire upper body (with the exception of the hands) is a valid target, and right of way is also given. Unlike foil, a touch can also be given by striking the opponent with the side of the blade in a cutting motion. Lastly, in an epee match, the entire body is a valid target, there is no right-of-way awarded, but a touch can only be scored with the point of the blade. Scoring is determined with the use of electrified weapons, and conductive target areas. Each fencer is attached to a cord on a reel which coils and uncoils along with their motions. This cord delivers power to both the weapon and the conducting plates on the fencer’s suit. Each weapon requires a varying amount of force and touch duration to register a touch.
Watching an individual fencing match is like watching any other individual combat sport, but with more intricate motions. The fencers violently lunge at each other, parry each other’s blows, and expertly dodge each other’s attacks. This is all done in the confines of a 1.8 meter wide, 14 meter long area called the strip, which fencers are penalized for stepping outside of. The best way to describe a fencing match is a combination of boxing, Aikido, ballroom dancing, and electrified medieval weaponry.
Standout performances for the engineers included Daniel S. Levine ’12, who won 11 of 15 matches for the men’s foil, and Molly A. Kozminsky ’12, who won all 18 of her matches. The Engineers have one more match before Winter Break on December 5, then resume competition next semester.