Student Lunges Into Competitive Fencing Scene

For sophomore Edbert Chan, what began as cross training for soccer soon turned into a lifelong passion.
Fencing, a sport similar to sword fighting, is played on a linear strip and incorporates three types of weapons: the saber, the foil and the epée. Each weapon has its own playing category as they vary in size and weight. Depending on the weapon, the aggressor is allowed to hit certain areas of an opponent to score points.
Edbert, who competes in foil, said fencing is a culmination of several skills.
“The elegance of your moves comes from the ability to coordinate between mind and muscle,” Edbert said. “You have to improvise sometimes…It’s like a dance. Sometimes it waters down to your instincts, but you can learn a lot of strategy.”
An action movie inspired Edbert to choose fencing as a second sport to soccer.
“I always admired sword fighting after seeing ‘The Mask of Zorro,’” Edbert said. “I thought, ‘Hey, I want to be like that.’”
Edbert soon became attached to the sport and was able to advance his skills quickly. Within a few months, Edbert began improving at local competitions and started fencing nationally.
By the age of 10, Edbert had skyrocketed up in the rankings to become one of the top 4 fencers for his age category according to national youth standings.
Edbert began his training at the California Fencing Academy in San Jose but now practices exclusively at The Fencing Center, also in San Jose, where his fencing abilities have continued to develop.
Natalya Maximovich, a coach at The Fencing Center, said she likes the looks of Edbert’s game.
“Edbert is smart and a good fighter,” Maximovich said. “He has many fencing actions which has made him a successful fencer.”
Edbert has recently begun attending international fencing tournaments. He has received an FIE License that allows him to enter international tournaments such as the one that he attended in Poland in January of this year. Although he has consistently placed well in these tournaments, Edbert regards his first-place finish at the Junior Fencing Championships in Hong Kong last summer as one of his most important victories to date.
The victory also taught Edbert about competing in general.
“It opened my eyes because there’s a lot more to accomplish,” Edbert said.
Although fencing is an individual sport, Edbert associates himself as a part of the collective effort of his fencing club.
“No matter where you are, you’re fencing as a team, but it’s your own intuition that prevails,” Edbert said.
According to Maximovich, Edbert is a good teammate as he gets along well with his fencing team and exhibits sportsmanship.
“Edbert is friendly, polite and respects his teammates,” Maxomovich said.
During the school year, Edbert trains four to five days a week, two hours during weekdays and three hours on weekends.
Edbert plans to attend a college with a fencing program and wants to continue fencing for as long as he can. He hopes to eventually make it to the international level. He also has thought about taking a year off before college to try and qualify for the 2012 Olympics.
“Right now, it will be very difficult for Edbert has to balance between school and training, but he does,” Maximovich said. “I believe he can become one of the best fencers in the USA.”