Two fencers

Fencers build community

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Like many of the 50 club sport options, the fencing club offers members an immediate community.

Most of the 30 club members have never fenced before coming to Grand Valley. But after a quick orientation from veteran members, newcomers are ready to parry, lunge and attack.

The recreational club doesn't compete against other teams; members face each other during bouts at the twice-weekly practices. Yet it was the competitive nature of the sport that attracted many current members.

I've never been in a combat sport before," said Abby Schnell, a junior who is majoring in writing and communications. "It's an adrenaline rush to fence someone. I enjoy the community and have met a lot of new people from being in the club."

Most of the equipment the club uses has been donated, including the three different swords used in fencing: foil, saber and épée.

Reo Lo, a junior majoring in biomedical sciences, said he enjoys using the saber as it puts him in the mind frame of Disney's popular movie franchise "Pirates of the Caribbean."

"It's got a different grip on it for hacking and slashing," he said, adding he and other club members do occasionally come away from practices with battle scars.