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My Return to Fencing in 2017

Updated on December 15, 2017
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Jack is a volunteer at the CCNY Archives. Before retiring, he worked at IBM for over 28 years. His articles have over 120,000 views.

Recent Reunion at Infinity Fencing Alliance


After 10 years, I decided to return to fencing. Not to compete in tournaments but just for exercise and fun and social interaction. This past Sept., I joined the Fencers Club and started practice every Thursday night. My progress is steady and I am having fun.

- Dec. 2017


Two years ago, I retired and have some free time. I got involved to help my Alma Mater CCNY Fencing team and organized a group reunion and help raised some funds. It was very sucessful and a group of my former teammates got together for some fencing. It turned out we still got it. True we are all older and put on quite a few pounds but we still have some of the old moves. With a little practice, we still can fence.

My journey back to fencing was quite by accident. This past Spring, I reconnected with a friend from my high school days. We‘ve lost touch over the years and I found his address on the web. I wrote him a letter and a few months later, I received a nice email reply. He has retired also and life was good. We met for dinner with our wives and we talked about our lives and careers and what we are up to... I just happened to mention about my problem with my knee and ankle and how it is a sign of old age. My friend, who is a few years older than me, told me about his situation and the supplement he found that helped his knee problem. He gave me the reference and I decided to give it a try. He instructed me it would take about a month for it to show results. Sure enough, after taking this supplement for a month, I experienced a definite improvement. So much so, that I decided to try taking up fencing again.

My other friend since my college days, who is an active fencer, invited me down to the Fencers Club as his guest. To my surprise, I saw a few of the people I knew from my club years ago in Westchester. Many are older but still very active. I also discovered I can still fence. The only problem was my stamina. I have retained the knowledge and the skill to fence but I just don’t have the staying power due to my sedentary life.

I took the plunge and got my self a whole new set of equipment of jacket, pant, mask, glove and a weapon. I joined the Fencers Club and started training once a week. My come back was slow but steady. I could see improvements week by week. The main difference this time was I decided I was not going to compete in tournaments any more. I am just going to do it for the exercise and the fun and the social interaction with my friends and teammates.


In the three months since my return, I reconnected with quite a few fencers from my past. I continued my efforts to help our Alma Mater‘s Women’s Varsity Fencing team. I also convinced two of my former teammates to join me and return to fencing. They also had recently retired and was looking for something to occupy their time. It is a win-win. I hope to continue and build up my stamina. I am shooting for the time I will be able to complete a 10 touch bout. Right now, I am just doing 5 touch practice bouts. I feel very good about my come back and the fact that I can fence without the pressure of competition. I am just doing it for fun and exercise.

I don’t have any idea how long I can keep this up. All I know is there are people in their 80s that are still active in our club. They are fit and mobile and happy and fencing.


In digging through my news clippings from my college fencing days, I came across two events that have relevance today. In one, at the ECAC in 1973, I placed 5th in the epee individual that year while Peter Westbrook won in the sabre category.

That same year in the Martini and Rossi International tournament held at the NYAC, I made it to the semi-final round in a pool of 90 participants. This event was written up in a New York Times sports article. The interesting part was I was in the same pool with James Melcher and George Masin.

The odd thing is in 2017, some 44 years later, I found my self sitting in the same table as Peter Westbrook at a fund raising event held at the Harvard Club. Moreover, the event was featuring James Melcher, the main benefactor in trying to raise funds to establish a permanent home for the Fencers Club.

How strange is that? What are the odds?

Truth is stranger than fiction.

Harvard Club

Harvard Club event - 2017
Harvard Club event - 2017 | Source

Harvard Club 2017

Fencers Club Funding at Harvard Club - 2017
Fencers Club Funding at Harvard Club - 2017 | Source
Harvard Club - 2017
Harvard Club - 2017 | Source

Table 5

Harvard Club event - 2017
Harvard Club event - 2017 | Source

© 2017 Jack Lee


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