En garde for 10 years of fencing

7 July 2021|Sport| Off Comments off on En garde for 10 years of fencing|

ONE of Tasmania’s most influential fencing clubs recently celebrated its 10th birthday with a non-stop day of fencing for everyone.

The Van Diemen Fencing Club was established at the YMCA in Glenorchy in 2011 and quickly became integral in raising the level of the Olympic sport in Tasmania.

“We launched to help build up the fencing community in Tasmania because there were only about eight to 10 fencers in the state at the time,” club head coach and Tasmanian Fencing Association president Avery Holderness-Roddam said.

“We run tournaments each year for our competitive students, run come and try sessions for schools and groups, and coach people from all ages – the youngest is about five and our oldest member is 87 this year.

“We coach from beginners right through to top national athletes.”

The club now operates out of the Tolosa Street Hall in Glenorchy from 6pm to 8pm on Tuesdays and at the Tarremah Steiner School hall on Saturdays from 10am to 1pm.

The 10th birthday celebrations were held at Tarremah Steiner School and included come and try sessions for the public and a tournament in the afternoon.

Mr Holderness-Roddam said fencing had several benefits and the club was working to correct misconceptions about the sport.

“I’ve seen year after year how it builds confidence, balance, coordination and problem-solving skills,” he said.

“It’s really good for kids with their hand eye coordination, and it also teaches them about honour and respect.

“It’s actually one of the safest Olympic sports – injuries only occur when a fencer doesn’t warm up correctly prior to training.”

Mr Holderness-Roddam said fencing was a diverse sport that was inclusive of all abilities and types of people, not just available to the upper class.

“Fencers with mobility issues can fence sitting or in their wheelchairs,” he said.

“Fencing is not just a boy’s sport, and we really want to get more girls and women involved.

“Some of Tasmania’s most successful fencers at Nationals have been women in recent years.

“The club provides all the equipment as we’d rather have more fencers and just cover our expenses than charge an arm and a leg and have a handful of members.”

Titia Bohlken first started fencing in Amsterdam in 2008 before she moved to Tasmania.

After an 11-year break from the sport, she found out about the Van Diemen Fencing Club in 2019.

Ms Bohlken said she enjoyed the competitive side of fencing, but also found the members of the club really welcoming.

“Once your mask is down it is game on, but once your mask goes up it is really friendly – it’s a really nice group of people that have a similar spirit,” she said.

“People with more experience want to help other people that are less experienced and that’s super nice.”

Having only been doing the sport for about eight weeks, Noah Gladdish said he found the technical skills of fencing enjoyable.

“It’s definitely fun to play such a historical sport, I like the swordplay aspect and it’s very dramatic, but also really fun and good exercise,” he said.

Thirteen-year-old Quincy Carlos has been doing fencing for about a year and even got his father Gary Carlos involved.

“I’ve learnt quite a few new skills, such as movement and flexibility,” Quincy said.

For more information, visit http://vdfencing.com/ or the Van Diemen Fencing Club – Fencing in Tasmania Facebook page.

Enjoy this story? Share it!

About the Author: Glenorchy Gazette

The Glenorchy Gazette is your monthly community newspaper, reaching over 24,000 homes and businesses in the Glenorchy municipality. It is the product of Nicolas Turner, Justine Brazil, Ben Hope, Simon Andrews, Tobias Hinds and guest contributors, with support from advertisers.

What’s new?

Go to Top