About the Flaming Blades
Oberlinese: I am on the fencing team.
English: I can and will fulfill your wildest fantasies.
-- Oberlin Confessional
The Oberlin College Fencing Club (aka the Oberlin College Flaming Blades) is the official fencing team of Oberlin College. It is the oldest chartered club sport of the college, and has been converting young, impressionable students to the glories of fencing since 1929. Our members are of all genders, weapons, and skill levels; some are lettered in the USFA ranking system, and even more continue to fence beyond college. Our coach is Johnny Ana, who also coaches at the nearby Hooked on Fencing.
The Flaming Blades is a club sports team, so the atmosphere is more relaxed than that of a varsity team. Attendance is not strictly enforced, although good attendance is expected of officers and those who want to form a part of the competitive team.
Our turf is Hales Gymnasium, right next to the Cat in the Cream coffeehouse (map).
Johnny comes by at least twice a week, to lead us in drills, give individual lessons, and dish out life advice, typically involving meatballs and shoddy footwork.
Schedule (2017-2018 Academic Year)
NCAA Captain: Kenny Wang
USFA Co-Captains: Sara Hedberg, Zoe Heuser
Treasurer: Marina Wright
PR: Sara Hedberg, Dizzy Farbanish
Liaison: Maddy Clemente
Armorers: Eva Bednarski, Max Kramer, Orion Sidoti, Marina Wright
Party Czar: Orion Sidoti
Staff Advisor: Greg Solow
We welcome fencers of all skill/experience levels, but we do require some amount of experience prior to joining the team. If you have fenced very little or not at all, we recommend taking the beginning fencing ExCo to brush up on the basics and regain those thighs o' steel before sparring with the team. Otherwise, we take new members at any point during the year; e-mail an officer or stop by practice if you are interested in joining. There is no joining or membership fee. You do need to be on the roster to practice on the team, but it just requires a little bit of paperwork.
You are also allowed to join even if you do not go to Oberlin. You can't compete, and there is a bit more paperwork, but if you live in the area and want to practice with us, you are more than welcome here!
We are a fully armed and operational fencing club; we have everything necessary to fence all weapons, for those who don't have their own equipment. If you do have equipment, we have storage space for it. Club members are free to use any equipment in the armory, including the rainbow feathered boa, pterodactly kite, etc. We do all of our armory in-house. There is no equipment fee, but if you want to fix your personal equipment, the club armorer(s) will fix it for you, but you need to purchase the parts yourself. Rainbow socks, part of the team uniform, must be purchased by each member.
The Flaming Blades are one of the few club fencing teams who compete at the NCAA level. We go to three or four NCAA tournaments per year at schools such as OSU and Notre Dame; all competitions are team, except for one day of individual events at Championships in the spring.
Team events are divided by gender and weapon; each team consists of three fencers (additional fencers can serve as alternates). Because of NCAA regulations, it is best to come to tournaments starting at the beginning of the year, since failure to participate in a certain number of competitions can result in being barred from later ones. In addition, people who identify themselves as members of the competitive (NCAA) team are expected to be at practice consistently throught the year.
Apart from NCAA competitions, we host a few USFA tournaments each year in Hales Gym. All three weapons are fenced over the course of the day, and Oberlin fencers always put in a good showing. These competitions can grow quite large; epee typically finishes an A1 or A2 event.
We also travel to USFA tournaments, using vehicles rented from the school. A large part of this cost (USFA membership, tournament entry fees, etc.) can be subsidized.