En garde: Classic sport new to Ridge

The Meadowridge school fencing club, just five years old, now hosts the largest youth fencing event in the province outside of ...

(Above) Emily Mason competes in the Y-14 epee division at the 2014 Meadowridge Youth Fencing Tournament at Meadowridge School on Sunday.

Maple Ridge is on the map in the venerable sport of fencing.

The Meadowridge school fencing club, just five years old, now hosts the largest youth fencing event in the province outside of the annual provincial championships.

On Sunday, the school gymnasium was ringing with the sounds of swordplay, as 145 athletes from 11 different fencing clubs from across the Lower Mainland, Sunshine Coast, Vernon, Nanaimo and Bellingham took part.

Kids faced each other on the long, narrow strip known as the piste, parrying and riposting, advancing and retreating.

“This is a good gathering, we’re really pleased to bring the youth fencing community together,” said one of the organizers, Connie Chow.

“You’re seeing some potential – some of these kids are vying for Team B.C. or the national team.”

Gareth Mason, who was a competitive fencer in England, is the founder and coach of the club, which has grown to include about 50 athletes in Grades 4-12.

He was once top 30 in the U.K., and after a long absence from the sport, he is backing competing as a veteran, dusting off his epee and some long-dormant skills. He works for software companies, and his daughter attends Meadowridge.

“You’re rusty, but it’s like riding a bike – you never forget it.”

Fencing is done with knees bent, legs coiled for sudden strikes. It’s a great workout.

“It’s like playing squash with armour on.”

Physically, the sport favours those with excellent hand-eye coordination, quick reflexes, good balance, and ultimately physical strength.

And there’s a rigorous mental contest underway once swords are crossed. Mason said people who do well in mental challenges like chess, mathematics or music might also appreciate fencing.

“You’re trying to unlock your opponent’s defensive strategies,” he said. “It’s a tactical sport.”

A match is fought to a score of five, and the scoring is done electronically. When your epee touches your opponent, an electrical impulse is automatically sent to the score clock, and you get your point.

The tournament offered competition in all three weapons popular in the sport – the epee, a stabbing weapon; the smaller foil; and the sabre, with which points can be scored using the edge.

The appeal is broad based, said Mason, from “youngsters looking to be pirates, to the truly athletic.”

There were eight Meadowridge fencing team members who won medals at their host tournament.


• Y10 Foil – Sunny Yuan;

• Y10 Sabre – Brandon Quon;

• Y12 Sabre – Nathan Go;

• Y14 Sabre – Timothy Lampen.


• Y10 Epee – Pawel Pater;

• Y10 Foil – Joe Guo;

• Y10 Sabre – Kevin Lee;

• Cadet Sabre – Matheson Go.

Just Posted

Ruskin Dam project complete, road re-opens over bridge

Bash on the Bridge celebration Saturday.

Hilti opens new service centre in Pitt Meadows business park

Located on Airport Way in Golden Ears Business Park.

MacDuff’s Call: Compassion within our communities

Support for Alisa’s Wish Child and Youth Advocacy Centre.

Ridge Jr. B Flames making additions

Four players sign, two coaches join mix.

UPDATE: Two-vehicle incident on Abernethy Way, Maple Ridge

Road near 227th Street reopens in both directions.

Police release photos of suspect in daytime sex assault at Vancouver woman’s home

A young woman, in hers 20s, was followed home by the man, before he violently attacked her inside

Raptors beat Bucks 100-94 to advance to franchise’s first-ever NBA Finals

Leonard has 27 points, 17 boards to lead Toronto past Milwaukee

Third person charged in death of B.C. teen Bhavkiran Dhesi

Inderdeep Kaur Deo facing charge of accessory after the fact to murder

Kamloops girl, 9, recovering from carbon monoxide poisoning now out of ICU

Her mother who was sleeping in the same tent with her did not survive

UPDATE: Surrey RCMP say boy, 11, missing for two days found safe

Dominic Mattie was last seen at 5 p.m. in the 13500-block of Gateway Drive in Surrey

‘I think he’s still alive’: B.C. mom pleads for help finding son last seen a month ago

Family offering $5,000 reward for information leading to the safe return of Tim Delahaye

New poll suggests one-third don’t want politicians to wear religious symbols

Local politicians shouldn’t be allowed to wear hijabs, crucifixes or turbans on the job, survey suggests

Raptors fans far from home adjust plans to watch pivotal playoff game

Raptors currently lead the playoff series 3-2, and a win Saturday would vault them into NBA finals

Most Read