The modern sport of fencing resembles a game of high speed chess, played in three dimensions.
Like chess players, fencers draw from a repertoire of well-rehearsed moves. However, unlike chess, thinking and reaction times in fencing are measured in microseconds; at the top level in fencing, the point of a foil can be travelling at 200 kph when a hit is made; almost 55 metres per second, so making a response to an opponent’s offensive action must be instantaneous to avoid being hit.
In the Olympic Games the foil point is the second fastest moving object after a rifle bullet. To succeed, fencers must develop powerful mental agility, anticipation and instinct and combine this with great technical skill and athletic fitness.
Since starting fencing 5 years ago, Louis has made rapid progress in the sport. Although, Louis is still only 15, he is the top ranked New Zealand foilist in the U17s category and second in epee. In the open category he is the fourth highest ranked foilist in New Zealand. These rankings are based upon results achieved in regional and national competitions in the past year, during which time Louis has won numerous medals and trophies. Perhaps Louis’ greatest achievement to date has been taking three medals in the Australian U15 & Cadet Fencing Championships last year, Gold in the U15’s individual epee, Silver in the U15’s team epee and Bronze in the U15’s team foil.
As is often the case in sport, Louis’ greatest challenges lay ahead of him, having been selected to represent New Zealand in the forthcoming Commonwealth Cadet & Junior Fencing Championships in Cape Town in July. Louis will compete in both the Cadet and Junior sections of the competition in foil and epee. To prepare for this challenge Louis is training hard; at least 10 hours of physical preparation each week, plus technical training sessions with his coach, and he will attend a number of High Performance training camps, along with other members of the New Zealand Commonwealth Fencing Team.
In the next two months he will also compete in a number of important domestic competitions and will be returning to Sydney in early July to compete in the Australian Cadet Championships before travelling to Cape Town.