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The sword is a thrusting weapon. Fencers score points by striking anywhere on their opponent with only the tip of their sword. With foil, fighters also strike with the toe, but the target area is reduced to the chest. The least common is the sabre, which differs the most from the other two, in that fighters can cut with the side of the weapon as well as push the tip.
Although the saber was the least common, Diacos was immediately drawn to it.
“It’s the most aggressive,” he said.
“All the others are very cerebral. You have plenty of time to reflect during the match and really make it happen. Whereas with the sword, it either works or it doesn’t—fight!
“It’s my thing.”
Over the years at Lightning Fencing Club, Diacos fell more and more into the sport, until club coach Daria Jorquera Palmer recommended him for the provincial team. The club is not competitive, so it was the natural step for someone as passionate about the sport as Diacos.
From March 20-23, Diacos represented Canada at the Junior Pan Am Championships in Lima, Peru. At the games, Diacos and his teammates scored big, winning a bronze medal in the team event. Shortly after, Diacos flew to Dubai to compete again, from April 2-10.
When Diacos talks about his sport, his eyes light up and the words flow. It’s full of things to say about the sport, like how the saber was designed for knights to swing from their horses as they charged into battle. Fencing has evolved from its medieval and Renaissance forms – which is a good thing from a mortality point of view – but it’s still part of the appeal of Diacos.
“It’s a gentleman’s sport, but you still feel connected to the warriors,” he said.
Lightning Fencing Club coach Jorquera Palmer said about 60 to 80 adults and children attend the club each year.
“The club has a very social atmosphere. We have pizza days…sometimes we will have a potluck. Everything is very, very friendly. Everyone is there to help people,” said Jorquera Palmer.
Jorquera Palmer joined the club approximately 23 years ago, including 12 years with the Canadian national team. Now, as a coach, she works to train new fencers who can compete or become coaches or referees in the future, ensuring that the club can continue to foster the enthusiasm of children like Diacos.
Diacos graduated from Oak Park High School in June. He will compete as an NCAA athlete at the University of Wisconsin next year on a fencing scholarship.
Cody Sellar is the reporter/photographer for Free Press Community Review West. He’s a lifelong Winnipegger. He is a journalist, writer, detective, lazy man, book reader and lover of concise biographies. Email him at [email protected] or call him at 204-697-7206.
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