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Fencing for the blind? I see no way this can end badly

Mar 29, 2010, 10:00 AM EDT

All I can say is that it’s about time the blind started fencing. It’s the next-to-last last thing I need to cross off on my list of unlikely happenings; now all I need is to see a goat drive a taxi. My life will then be complete. Boston-area instructor Cesar Morales is organizing the first-ever fencing tournament between two blind schools, and one of the great things about this story is a quote from one of the competitors.

“I’m on Twitter, and I mentioned to my followers and friends that I was going to be in a fencing tournament and I had ten replies saying ‘Blind people can fence? Really? No way!’ Yeah, anything is possible.”

And how exactly does a blind person use Twitter? I don’t know, but I’m not about to question it; lest he attack me with an epee.

Morales is founder of the International Fencing Club in suburban Boston and also a teacher at the Perkins School, which will be taking on The Carroll Center in the first-ever fencing tournament between two blind schools.

“This helps with orientation,” Kadlik, who lives on his own in an apartment on the Perkins Watertown campus, told the Associated Press. “When you’re walking along, and you come to a crosswalk, you need to stay in a straight line to cross the street, and learning to stay straight in fencing reinforces that feeling.”

The Carroll Center has been teaching fencing to its students for exactly those reasons since 1954, said vice president Arthur O’Neill. But to his knowledge, this is the first time there has been a fencing match with another school.

Blind fencers use a rectangular piece of carpet to keep themselves oriented, and have the same protective head gear and jackets as other fencers. They say they can hear their opponents step toward them, and an electronic scoring device records hits.
So this is pretty cool. It also would have made The Princess Bride a much more interesting movie.
Blind students ready for fencing match [Charleston Daily Mail]

  1. Dan - Mar 29, 2010 at 12:58 PM

    “It also would have made The Princess Bride a much more interesting movie.”
    If you’re talking about a blind Inigo, good luck finding the man with 6 fingers.