A high school cafeteria is a pretty unlikely venue for a fencing tournament, but it is appropriate given what the organizers are trying to accomplish.
"[Wednesday's] event is an effort to introduce the sport of fencing to the greater cCawson area because we’re going to have a fencing club at the middle school come the fall," explained school board Vice President and future fencing instructor Thomas J. Reed, Jr.
"There are no public schools that I know of in the area, — or Michigan for that matter — that have a fencing program," Reed said. "[It's] a chance for parents to come in see what the sport looks like if their kids were to do it."
Kids like 13-year-old Ares Zhou. Four years ago he had some pretty unique inspiration to take up this Olympic sport.
"I was reading this book on the civil war and it said this general trained in fencing. I didn’t know what this was so I asked my mom about it. She said she just saw an ad about a fencing club. She asked if I wanted to check it out," explained Zhou.
Zhou says he’s played lots of other sports, but none of them are anything like fencing
"Oher sports are more like pure physical power, but fencing is more like a mental thing. It’s like playing chess but also exercising yourself at the same time," he said.
Reed says the sport of fencing makes sense in a middle school setting. "As we went through our strategic planning here in the district, I realized that it kind of dovetailed with the stuff we’re trying to achieve in the classroom."
Next year the Lawson Middle School club will compete against other clubs in the area. "In the end my goal is to have a tournament probably against Renaissance Fencing Club, which is just over here in Troy. There’s also another club in Livonia," said Reed.
And Reed says he’s hoping this is just the beginning.
"My goal is to have a successful two of three years so we then have some kids in the high school that are prepared to form a team pretty on the spot. And, yes, I do plan on approaching some other schools as we go along. Work out some kinks and we can prove to them that it works, that it has a following and that it has a value," Reed said.
For more information of Clawson Middle School fencing visit their Facebook page or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org