Fencing Family Fosters Sport on Western Slope

After shedding its brutality, the sport of fencing can be traced back to England in the late 1700's. 

More than 300 years later, you can thank the Wall family for bringing and fostering fencing culture on the Western Slope. 

"We moved here in 2001," Aaron Wall, club fencing co-founder and instructor at Colorado Mesa said. "We looked around and said...'this place has no fencing'. It can't happen that way. People have to fence!"

The Wall family, Aaron and Corriann, started by setting up an indendent group (Grand Junction Sport Fencing), eventually adding a class and a club sport at the university. In the decade since, they've managed to send students to tournaments and junior championships across the state. 

"People started fencing here and really enjoyed it," Corriann Wall said at CMU's club practice Friday. "You don't see that much out west."

The Wall's stress the clubs and communities are all-inclusive, from professionals to first-timers. The club at Colorado Mesa offers all three types of fencing discliplines: foil, epee, and sabre. Their personal group includes swordplay with katanas.

"We've had kids as young as five, as old as 70, 75," Aaron Wall said. "You gotta try it, that's the only way to do it. Jump in and see what it's like."

Many of Mesa's club members, including Victor Richardson III, fence weekly for the exercise, the competition, and the friendships. 

"It's a great way to end the week," Richardson III said. Just hanging out with friends, a bunch of sword nerds. Instead of actually talking about stuff, we actually get to battle against each other."

Corriann Wall has a term for typical fanatics of fencing.

If you enjoy swordfighting, if you're the 'athletic nerd' type, this is the sport for you."

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