What do “The Princess Bride,” “Gladiator” and the Bradley Fencing Club all have in common? Swords, lots of swords.
Clay McKinley, president of the club and senior electrical engineering major, stated that there is something special about fencing that cannot be found anywhere else on campus.
“It’s definitely unique,” McKinley said. “There’s something satisfying to be able to compete with someone and stab them with a sword, [it is] definitely a big stress reliever as well; any frustrations you can get out fencing.”
For some people, fencing has been a life-long dream, and this club gives them the opportunity to live it.
“For a lot of people, they come in as sort of a fantasy they’ve had,” McKinley said. “[They’re] like ‘oh, I’ve always wanted to try that’ or they’ve seen it in movies. It kind of gives people the opportunity to see the sport and they figure out that it’s bigger than they first thought.”
Veronica Schreiner, freshman english education major, joined because she wanted to learn how to fight with swords.
“I am fascinated with sword play and I’ve always wanted to learn how to fence,” Schreiner said. “There’s this fun game we play right before we go into fencing and it’s a great workout and it’s really fun. Everybody is always friendly with each other.”
Fencing is not only a club at Bradley, but also a group of friends.
“We are all one big family,” said Ali Abdel Salam, junior mechanical engineering major and vice president of fencing club. “We all go hang out outside of fencing. I’ve been here for three years and I’m friends with basically everyone in this club … the community aspect is important.”
Kaleb Bolliger, sophomore computer science and French double major, joined the club after seeing it listed and wanted to try something new. He continued for a couple reasons.
“I’m a competitive person and I found that fencing is a competitive sport, there’s a lot of depth to it and it’s fun innately for the value it has as a competitive sport,” Bolliger said. “I found a really good community of people here … My best friends are all in this club.”
McKinley started fencing his freshman year and has worked his way to the president position. People of any skill level can find a place in the club.
“[There is] absolutely no experience needed,” McKinley said. “We do have people that come in who have fenced for like 10 years and they find a spot here, even helping coaching and competing.”
First-time fencers can learn and practice with each other while the more experienced members’ help.
Thirty-eight official members have paid their dues and can use the equipment provided by the club.
According to McKinley, about 15 to 20 members will show up for each meeting.
“We want everyone to be able to join in, whether you want to be really competitive or not,” McKinley said. “So, we’ll try to add as many competitions as we can per semester that will allow the competitive people to go out and compete, but we also want people to be able to show up, fence their friends and have some fun.”
Fencing Club meets every Tuesday and Thursday from 6 to 8 p.m. at Markin Center in the multipurpose room behind the rock wall.