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Insights into the world of fencing and thoughts on life

  • Writer's pictureKate

Club Spotlight: Iowa City Fencing Center

Updated: Aug 3, 2020


The space is pleasant, tidy, and well-organized. A big “Thank You” to the Iowa City Fencing Center for the warm welcome and for letting us snoop around a little!

Main fencing area

The main fencing area.

Weapon storage

Creative use of pvc pipe for weapon storage.

Gear rack

A clothing rack for lame and jacket storage.

Mask storage

Mask storage bin. Anyone want to go to IKEA with me and get some of these?

Judy O’Donnell, the owner and Head Coach, graciously emailed me with the answers to a few questions about her club and its culture.

1. What’s your favorite moment/ memory about your club?

I have had so many wonderful moments at the ICFC, it’s hard to pick out my favorite. Maybe it was when an extremely shy student finally spoke to me in his second lesson. What he whispered was “This is a dream come true for me.” Or maybe it was the time an autistic child put on a mask and was willing to look at someone’s face for the first time. Or maybe when I came back from a trip and found that my students had been busy making improvements to the ICFC while I was gone, and knowing they care about the place as much as I do. But most especially I enjoy the many moments when a student who has been struggling with something finally gets it, and the big smile that results.

2. What’s your fencers’ favorite activity at your club (besides fencing)?

Besides fencing, I think my students enjoy balance work the most. Although, while they do claim that my footwork classes are torture, they keep coming back for more…

3. What is the most important thing you teach at the club?

Probably the most important thing I teach at the ICFC is mental training, because it applies to all aspects of life, not just fencing. I love it when a student comes in and tells me they were really nervous about a presentation at school or work but that they used the mental training techniques I taught them and it was suddenly easy for them!

4. Show us how you organize your gear (refer to the pictures I posted above as well).

We have an armory room where we keep all the repair equipment and the electric weapons and lames and knickers. In the main fencing room we have a long clothes rod with jackets and plastrons, and a shelf above it with masks. We have cubbies for gloves and chest protectors, and weapons are hung at the other end of the room on dowel racks. Our other training equipment (fencing dummies, electric target, etc.) is in the exercise room.

5. What symbol best represents your club?

We really don’t have a symbol.

6. What else do you want us to know about your club?

We love to have visitors come to fence!

If you want to learn more about the Iowa City Fencing Center, check out their Website or you can find them on Facebook.

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