14/03/2024- Disability inclusion


The fencing club at Keele University held a seated fencing workshop with their members in a bid to showcase opportunities for disabled participants.

Two fencers facing off sitting on benches with tow other refereeing the bout.

We caught up with David Lamb, Keele University Fencing Club Captain, and he told us all about the day. “Our members had a lot of fun and we learned a lot,” he said.

As the university club are still waiting to get hold of a wheelchair fencing frame, they used gym benches and other equipment to help them participate in seated fencing activities.

They played “glove pong” for a warmup . Two teams sat along benches opposite each other and tried to get as high a rally as possible volleying a glove between them – seven volleys was the club record on the day.

First, they made it harder by adding more gloves. Then went back to one, but everyone had their back turned and had to twist around every time they touched the glove – once they got the hang of it, they added more gloves again. “It worked pretty well and was quite fun!” said David.

Next, David went through the seated fencing rules and a bit of basic strategy with everyone. Some had done it before in their tests or at other clubs, and they helped get everyone set up. Most people were a bit timid at first, but quickly got into it and most had a go with all three weapons.

Bungee cords were extremely helpful; they wrapped one around a person’s waist at the front and attached it to the bench behind them and another around their back attached in front. The cords acted almost like seatbelts that pulled you back into place no matter which way you leaned. This made people less dependent on their legs and off-hand to stabilise themselves and made them more comfortable with throwing themselves forwards and backwards, because they knew the bungees would catch them.

David tells us,“It’s nice to see we’re moving in the right direction and with so much support from the club. We plan to try this again once we have obtained our new frame and some wheelchairs.”

This is a great example of what can be done without any wheelchair fencing equipment, and how clubs can adapt what’s in their environment to help seated fencers participate.

A group of fencers sitting on benches in the gym practicing seated fencing activities

For more information on wheelchair fencing, please visit our Disability Inclusion Zone.


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