Three Swords Fencing: A Modern Twist on an Ancient Sport

Fencing is a sport that goes back centuries, long before basketball, baseball and football. This historic sport has made its way to a Traverse City non-profit called Three Swords Fencing.

Board President of Three Swords Fencing, Laurie Lapp says, “a lot of people like to say that fencing is chess at a thousand miles an hour and it really is a constant strategy game but it’s also physical and constantly changing.”

Laurie’s son, JP Lapp, is a college fencer at Cleveland State University and has a deep understanding of the historical side to this sport. JP says, “This sport stems from people training for duels because back in the day you could get a lot out of winning duels.”

At Three Swords Fencing they use the technique called épée. JP shares that the entire body is used as a target and is fair game in this style. “you can hit someone on the hand, you can hit someone on the foot. It’s all a point and so that would kind of be how fencing was done historically where it was done until the first blood. Essentially you’d stab someone to where you draw blood but you’re not trying to kill them in the recreational sense.”

Both JP and his mother, Laurie can be seen practicing and challenging each other to bouts. In the beginning not even a mask could hide this family rivalry. “When I was younger it was harder to keep my composure because I’d be like that’s for making me do the dishes earlier,” JP says with a chuckle.

Laurie shares that when she started in her early forties she realized that fencing isn’t just for the youth, it will keep you both physically and mentally sharp no matter one’s age. “It keeps your mind sharp! I will say that my reflexes now at probably faster than they’ve ever been in my life and the awareness you obtain about your own emotional self and the physical conditioning. I mean come on we all want to stay physically fit right? It’s just a fun way to do it!”

What makes Three Swords Fencing unique to Northern Michigan is that they will teach anyone in the community willing to learn. “The cool thing about Three Swords is that not only do you have kids that are your age but there are also adults and people who you can really look up to and trust and learn from – it’s a good Community that really helps people out,” says JP.

For more information on Three Swords Fencing click here.

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