Club profile: Fencing

Robert Menzies


The clash of steel, the whoop of victory and the unceremonious swearing of the defeated – a common sight at any tournament. Yet to a non-fencer this all seems inexplicable and far removed from the flashy and thrilling sword fights and dashing duels of old films.

For decades people from all backgrounds have been drawn to fencing, an ancient sport that has flourished at Glasgow University for many years.

Fencing offers the individual both a taste of personal success, as well as a certain musketeer-y team spirit. It is a vastly differing sporting experience to most other team sports. Above all, the GUFC is a community of like-minded people who celebrate not only the wins, but also the defeats – it is about the challenge, the personal fight, about never giving up, be it when fencing or going through the highs and lows of life.

What makes the Club special is that it’s a haven for people who require copious amounts of tea, who all think along the same lines, and who are the kind of people who will shake hands after a bout involving anger, screaming, bruises and blood. It is the best way to spend a Tuesday and Thursday evening.

Among the ‘all for one, and one for all’ banter is the clubs most noticeable relic – the Logan Sword, polished and put on display in the trophy cabinets. According to lore, the Sword is named after a student who is said to have expertly crafted the broadsword from a VW bumper.

Fencing, while a competitive and at times a technical kind of sport, requires training, speed, timing, precision, strength and aim. It is also a recreational and social activity, inspiring dedication but also demanding a balance of movement and quick thinking. Few things compare to the thrill of scoring a well-earned point.

In previous years, Glasgow University Fencing Club has maintained its reputation as a large and active club. Whether you already fence, are an absolute beginner or are just plain curious, you can swing a sword and talk with a wild, eccentric and warm-hearted assortment of people.  The kind of people who can easily spend an evenings’ training locked in a duel and still sit down together for a pint afterwards.

This past year the club celebrated winning the Glasgow Cup, a national tournament between all the universities in the city, which is the latest in a long line of victories for the club. We consistently rank high, winning bronze, silver and gold on a regular basis in épée, foil and sabre. Both the men’s and women’s teams frequently outperform the competition in national and even international competitions. Travelling to the many tournaments, aimed at all levels, you get to meet and compete with students from all over the United Kingdom, Europe and beyond.

It is this exchange between cultures and people from which fencing as a sport has thrived for centuries. Fencing brings together very different people who soon discover that regardless of which walk of life they are from, they find something in the play of swords that speaks to them.

Our members all come from some very different disciplines and everyone is welcome to come by and stand en garde – no fatalities intended. Regardless of whether you are a fresher or a returning student, everyone is welcome to try a taster session or even just attend a demonstration during Freshers’ Week and see what it feels like to hold a sword.



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