Fencers gather in Bozeman to sharpen their skills


Fencers gather in Bozeman to sharpen their skills 03/09/13

BOZEMAN, Mont. - Participants of the sport call it physical chess.  At MSU's Romney Gym, fencers of all ages and abilities gather to advance their game.

"It requires a lot of discipline...We call it physical chess for a reason, because you're thinking about four or five steps ahead with the person that you're fighting with."

Dani Barrett's boyfriend introduced her to fencing.

"It just sort of clicked and I've been having a blast ever since," says Barrett.

She says she's thrilled to see so many Montana fencers and as an intermediate, she says Fencing Training Day gives her a special opportunity to share knowledge of the sport.

"You get to watch the less experienced fencers grow and then you get to challenge yourself against the more experienced fencers," explains Barrett.

12-year-old Camas Allison-Bunnell fell in love with fencing at summer camp.

"It's a great sport.  I really love it.  Hitting people with swords, what's better?" laughs Allison-Bunnell.

He's is six months into fencing but says he's eager to learn and ready to push himself to be a better fencer.  That's why Fencers Training Day was one opportunity Allison-Bunnell couldn't pass up.

"I have this one kid who I can never beat because he does this funky stuff so, I'm going to see if I can't get good enough to beat him," says Allison-Bunnell.

But it's not just the intermediate and beginner fencers who turned out for a day of footwork drills and fencing sessions.  

"I really love teaching and I really love fencing and and me putting them together is a dream job, really.  I love it so much."

Chris Laclercq is a coach at Missoula Fencing Association.  He says this coming together of fencers from across the state to learn is the first of its kind.  It's one that allows fencers of all abilities to become even better at the sport they love.

"Even people who have been fencing longer than I have, maybe I can show them something, they can show me something and that way everybody comes out better," explains Laclercq.

Training day continues Sunday when fencers will put their new skills to use with a tournament.

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