Durham, North Carolina – Fencing is a sport that tends to attract attention during the Olympics.
At Research Triangle Fencing in Durham, people of all ages come to the facility for Olympic-level instruction on how to fencing. Individual sport gives people the chance to be responsible for their own success or failure.
At the highest level, fencing is a game of precise aggression and skillful defense, but that’s not why novice fencer Nick Miller embraced it.
âMy brother and I have always played swords with sticks, but it’s totally different. There is strategy but it’s swords,â Miller said.
Miller, 13, said he has had a great time learning about the sport over the past two months.
“I learned that I am good with the foil … to be more strategic, instead of just going for it. [and] guns, âhe said.
Fencing coach Darius Wei has taught at all levels since the Durham facility opened seven years ago.
âMaybe they came here and never considered themselves athletes until they came here and were treated like athletes,â Wei said.
Wei said what holds athletes back in the facility is the camaraderie, intensity and control over their own success or failure, which is a double-edged sword.
âIn all sports, you are going to fail,â Wei said. “I like to speed up this cycle. I want them to do it early enough and often, and then learn from it immediately.”
Miller said he understood Wei’s point.
“A friend of mine was texting me, ‘Hey, can you play video games?’ No, I’m going to be fencing, and they said, “Well, don’t leave any survivors,” “Miller said. “
âWe’re going to have to show them that you left no survivors,â Wei joked. “Yes, there were no survivors.”
Miller’s father said his son did some research and found the place on his own. They drive from Youngsville in Durham for his new sport.
For the Tokyo Olympians, there is no group game, preliminaries or second chance. Once you lose, you come home.