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Fencing returns to Bonita Lakes Mall

By By Tony Krausz / assistant sports editor
June 5, 2003
The setting will be just as important as the competition for one of the events at the State Games of Mississippi, which gets underway with five events this weekend.
Fencing returns to the Bonita Lake Mall, located near J.C. Penny, for a third year, and the surroundings of commerce adds a new quality to this little known sport.
The fencing competition begins at 10 a.m. Saturday with the youth events, and the adults will compete on Sunday, starting at 10 a.m.
Carr said the number of people involved in the foil dueling invent has grown each year.
Between the youth and adult events, the commissioner expects to draw between 30 to 40 people each day.
The competition will be heightened by the presence of a crowd that isn't exposed to fencing.
The mall environment, with its different setting and larger crowds, is simultaneously an enjoyable part of this State Game and a little weird for the competitors.
It is also a chance for those not familiar with the art of fencing to get acquainted with the swashbuckling affair.
Audiences will have spectators' guides available to them at the site.
The guides will provide the rules of fencing and help familiarize the crowd with the terms of the sport.
Carr said the audience is also encouraged to ask questions to the participants or the organizers of the event.
The most important aspect of fencing for new spectators to learn is the rule of "right of way."
If one fencer moves first to attack, the other fencer must defend himself or herself and cannot counter attack.
There is a referee who determines who made the first move to go on the offensive and awards points accordingly.
The public setting of the State Games of Mississippi's fencing competition also allows those involved to clear up some misconceptions about the sport.
Carr, who teaches fencing on the Gulf Coast, said the biggest fear people have is that it is easy to get hurt in fencing.
Fencing is like the duel scene between Mercutio and Tybalt in the play "Romeo and Juliet," only without a script.
It is two competitors clashing relatively harmless swords, without the threat of serious bodily harm.
The fencing competition is an unusual event in an unusual setting, and it will be a great time.

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