For almost four decades, WPI students drawn to the mental and physical rigors of fencing have endured the thrusting and cutting motions of swords whistling through the air for fun. But with full protective gear and excellent training, the worst injury that coach Dave Brown, professor of computer science, remembers is a student’s twisted knee.
Brown says he has seen the club grow over the 30 or so years he has been the club’s advisor. When he took over in the early 1980s, the club existed, but was struggling. With his own childhood experience competing in fencing in his native England, Brown began coaching students of all abilities from those who are interested in honing competition-level skills to those who are just curious and take the sport for PE credit.
The club has come a long way since Brown first met the rag-tag but determined bunch who were devoted to a sport they loved. They squeezed practice space behind the bleachers next to the basketball court and were struggling to keep the club going.