May 23, 2023

Focus on Fencing

During the 2022-2023 school year, co-ed Fencing was added as a new sport to the growing Oakwood Athletics program. The team is led by Head Coach Bryon Buchard and Assistant Coach Lee Bridges. The Fencing team competes year-round as part of the SoCal Scholastic Fencing League in foil and epee—two of the three Olympic weapons.

Students practice 3 days per week after school and all middle and high school students are welcome to participate, no experience is necessary. The Oakwood Fencing team also practices year round and it can be joined or left at any time. Because of the flexibility of the program, it is a great sport to be practiced in addition to other seasonal sports or clubs such as debate, STEAM, or the performing arts.

Fencers can compete in eight tournaments throughout the school year. The culminating League Championship tournament happens in the spring and the championship is earned by accumulating individual points earned throughout the school year. Charlie ’27 was awarded first place in the Novice Tournament for Men’s Middle School Epee in his first year of Fencing!

Although Fencing is an individual sport, students are taught and encouraged to share strategies with each other to build teamwork and communication. Through mutual learning, students can learn and build their fencing skills together.

In addition to teamwork, students can take on leadership roles as volunteer referees strengthening the values of fairness and cooperation. And as fencers return for the next school year, they will have the opportunity to further develop as role models. 

Coach Byron’s personal experience residing in a zen temple also influences his coaching style. He incorporates meditation techniques to teach students how to harness calmness and not get overwhelmed in competition. Through repetitive actions, students are then able to let their hands and feet do what they have learned in practice and training.

In addition to being great exercise, fencing is an exciting way to learn mindfulness, coordination, problem-solving, and discipline. It’s also super fun with lots of laughter.

Head Coach Byron Buchard

Coach Byron also teaches a middle school PE class that focuses on fencing. He is hoping to continue this next school year as a way to introduce the sport and grow the after-school team. Coach Byron also hopes to expand the Fencing program to have specific middle and high school teams and increase the general awareness of scholarship opportunities for fencing at the collegiate level.

Enrollment is now available for Fencing Camp through Oakwood Summer Program for students in Grades 3-8. Classes will take place August 7-11 from 9am-12pm with tournament champion fencing coach, Byron Burchard. Students will discover the fun and exciting experience of fencing strategy, and learn forms and techniques to further expand their curiosity about the sport of fencing. Visit Oakwood Summer Programs to register today.