By Meeah Bradford
Foil Fencer at Salle Mauro
How did I discover fencing and how did I start?
I started fencing through Groupon. My mom saw a coupon for a couple of classes, and I started in the Cavalier class. After a couple of weeks, the coach suggested that I move up to a higher level class because I had an affinity for the sport. The rest is history.
How old was I when I started fencing?
I began fencing when I was nine- years- old, but the great thing about the sport is that you can start at almost any age and still become really successful.
When did I start competitions?
I started both national and regional competitions about a year after I started fencing, so around 10-years-old.
Why did I like fencing?
At the time I began, I was doing many different activities from chess to ballet to swim to piano, but they were never something I really loved doing. Fencing offered me a challenge, but also a family and an environment that I love and will always hold dear to me. Through the atmosphere and the team, I have been able to learn so much to make me an elite fencer, but I also have made memories that I will keep with me forever.
Why have I stuck with it for all these years?
Primarily the coaches. Through all the tears, good times and the bad, they have stuck with and cared for me, not just as a student at the Salle, but also as an individual. They care so deeply about each and everyone of their fencers, and have done so much for both me and my family. Without them, I may have quit a long time ago.
What have I learned?
Fencing is easily one of the most special, but also one of the most difficult sports I have ever taken part in and I have learned so much both on and off the strip. The ability to encompass both mental and physical prowess in one sport has taught me to constantly be active in both my body and mind in order to win. My many, many losses have also taught me more than I care to admit about how to overcome hardship and struggle and bounce back. However, off the strip I have learned how to balance my time between school, fencing, and home, and overall how to be a respectful and compassionate individual towards all.