Portland, January 13th. The blades were drawn at the The Oregon Convention Center for the North American Cup. USA Fencing officials say 1,500 competitors are participating in the important qualifying event. The four day competition is free for spectators and runs through Monday, January 16th.

Olympic Hopefuls Seth Kelsey, Gerek Meinhardt, Soren Thompson

Olympic Hopefuls Seth Kelsey, Gerek Meinhardt, and Soren Thompson

Three weapons are used in modern competitive fencing: foil, épée, and sabre. The top competitors are disciplined athletes.

National ratings are awarded by the USFA and range from A through E (A being the highest and E the lowest), with U for all unrated fencers. Ratings are awarded based on number of competitors in a tournament and the strength of the tournament.

National ratings are awarded by the USFA and range from A through E (A being the highest and E the lowest), with U for all unrated fencers. Ratings are awarded based on number of competitors in a tournament and the strength of the tournament.

Greg Dilworth, Executive Director USA Fencing, Drew Mahalic CEO Oregon Sports Authority

Greg Dilworth, Executive Director USA Fencing and Drew Mahalic, CEO Oregon Sports Authority

Hundreds of volunteers are on hand for the 2012 North American Cup in Portland. Natalie Whitson is the Chairperson for the Oregon Division of USA Fencing and says because many of the best coaches live in Portland, the area is a magnet for serious fencing contenders who train year round. Two time Women’s Sabre Olympic Champion, Mariel Zagunis hails from Portland but doesn’t need to qualify for the London Olympics by competing in her hometown, because she already has a place on the U.S. team headed to 2012 London Olympics in July.

A body cord is necessary to register scoring: it attaches to the weapon and runs inside the jacket sleeve, then down the back and out to the scoring box. In sabre and foil the body cord connects to the lamé in order to create a circuit to the scoring box.

A body cord is necessary to register scoring: it attaches to the weapon and runs inside the jacket sleeve, then down the back and out to the scoring box. In sabre and foil the body cord connects to lamé fabric in order to create a circuit to the scoring box.

Ania Parzecki and Claudia Kulmacz from New Jersey

Ania Parzecki and Claudia Kulmacz from New Jersey

 

The English term fencing, in the sense of "the action or art of using the sword scientifically" (OED) dates to the late 16th century, when it denoted systems designed for the Renaissance rapier.

The English term fencing dates to the late 16th century, when it denoted systems designed for the Renaissance rapier.

The USFA was incorporated as a non-profit corporation in Pennsylvania in 1964 and in Colorado in 1993 in compliance with the Amateur Sports Act and opened its national office at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. in August of 1982.

 Traditionally, the fencers' uniform is white (black for instructors). This may be due to the occasional pre-electric practice of covering the point of the weapon in dye, soot, or colored chalk in order to make it easier for the referee to determine the placing of the touches. As this is no longer a factor in because the hit is registered electronically.

Traditionally, the fencers' uniform is white (black for instructors). This may be due to the pre-electric practice of covering the point of the weapon in dye, soot, or colored chalk in order to make it easier for the referee to determine the placing of the touches.

Tickets for the London 2012 Olympic Games are now available to Olympic fans worldwide. U.S. residents can buy tickets online through CoSports.

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