COLUMBIA — At practice, Nick Hallman is one of the most talented members of the MU Fencing Club. Hallman, a 26-year-old graduate student from North Carolina, will get a chance to test his skills against tougher competition this weekend.
Hallman, and five others, will represent the club at this weekend's Fencers Academy Regional Open Circuit tournament in St. Louis. The event is for competition in sport fencing.
Hallman said that the MU Fencing Club should stack up well against other non-NCAA fencing teams since they are strong for a club sport fencing program.
In sport fencing, the intent is to score points any way possible, while in classic fencing opponents try to score point with moves that would be effective in an actual fight.
Hallman will be competing to keep his A-level ranking in épée, the heaviest of the sport fencing weapons. A-level is the highest classification in any of the three different types of blades, which include foil, saber and épée.
According to Jonathan Williams, a club member, what separates Hallman from his teammates is that he is always moving and using his great footwork.
Hallman is full of emotion when he is dueling, and like other athletes, he will pump his fist or let out an exuberant scream after scoring on an attack. His constant energy and skillful technique lets him get the best of his teammates in practice.
“A good fencer must have both athleticism and endurance while being able to read body language,” said Joe Hilgard, another club member.
According to Katrina Zacharias, a senior club member, curiosity is the main reason people come out to learn about fencing.
Hallman is one of the few members of the club that had fencing experience before joining the club. He and other members with a serious background in fencing lead practices and give pointers to those who are trying to improve.
“I’ve been fencing since I was 7 or 8 years old,” Hallman said. “I was really interested in swords and got lessons as a Christmas gift, and I have been fencing ever since.”