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David Chung- Fencing Q&A

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David Chung

David Chung

David Chung

Neel Vallurupalli, Copy Editor

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When/Why did you first start fencing?
My dad fenced in high school and at a Div 1 college so he introduced the sport to me in 7th grade. I liked how challenging the sport was, both mentally and physically. I jumped into fencing competitively at the beginning of eighth grade.

What is your favorite part of the sport?
I like the individuality and the competition fencing offers. It offers a challenge that I enjoy. Fencing has also taught me important life lessons and good practice habits. I’ve learned to better handle stress and failure through the sport.

What is the most challenging part of the sport?
The most challenging part of the sport is how you have to use both your mind and your body to achieve your goal. For example, if you want to do a certain action in order to score a touch, you first have to recognize any patterns that your opponent does. Then, you have to strategize how to use that pattern against your opponent. Then, you actually have to carry out that plan through physical means. Its this difficult combination of pattern recognition, strategy, and physical ability that characterizes fencing

Who has been influential in your fencing career? What has made them influential?
My dad has probably been the most influential in my fencing career. Since he was a Div 1 fencer back in college, his insight for the sport has been very helpful in improving my fencing. More recently, he has been acting as my personal coach and helping me train and practice.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome in fencing?
The biggest challenge I’ve faced is improving my fencing while living in the Midwest. The fencing powerhouses are located in the West and East Coasts, making it hard for me to improve my fencing. In addition, most, if not all, the tournaments are located on the coasts, forcing me to travel on weekends. There is a very small number of fencers in the Midwest, so it’s nothing like what you would find out on the coasts.

What is your biggest accomplishment in fencing and what was that like?
The biggest accomplishment I’ve achieved was placing in the top 32 at two major national competitions, allowing me to gain a national ranking of 64th in my age group. Given the size and the difficulty of the tournament, I consider these tournaments two of my biggest accomplishments. I felt like all the hard work and time I put into practice finally paid off. Also, many of my opponents had started fencing at a very young age. I, on the other hand, started competitive fencing in 8th grade, making it an even greater accomplishment for someone who started that late in the game.

Do you have plans to continue fencing in college/beyond?
Yes, I would like to fence for a Div 1 college. However, I would not mind fencing at a Div 2 school. There are a lot of colleges that have fencing at a competitive level or club level so I would still continue fencing.

Fencing isn’t too common at the high school level. Do you think more high school students should take part? Why?
I personally think more high school students should take part in fencing. It teaches you different lessons that you would not normally learn from a team sport. For example, you quickly learn that the responsibility to win lies on you, not your coach, not your teammates, but on you. Fencing is also an unique sport in the sense that it combines both your mind with your physical strength. Many people compare it to a game of physical chess. Also, I think that it is eye opening to experience the extremely intense environment that is part of the national tournaments.

Anything else you want to add?
If anyone is interested in fencing, Clayton Fencing Club is always open to newcomers.

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David Chung- Fencing Q&A