‘My Fencing World’ explores the world of British Fencing as told through the personal stories of people of all ages and abilities in our community. Here we catch up with Aasiyah Razzaq about her fencing journey and how her faith has helped her along the way.
Introduce yourself – who are you and how did you get into fencing?
My name is Aasiyah Razzaq and I am 14 years old. I come from Oxford and now live in Manchester. My fencing journey began when I was 7 years old. I attended a taster session and turned up in sandals thinking I’d be fencing bare foot! I participated in some fencing exercises and at the end of the session I decided to continue because I loved the idea of fighting with a real sword.
How have you practised your faith while fencing?
A couple of years later, I chose to wear a headscarf and my coach was very supportive and encouraged me, which eased my journey throughout my years of fencing. I’ve only ever experienced positivity while being at Four of Clubs.
When I was 10 years old my coach offered me longer breeches to wear, however I felt uncomfortable throughout the lesson. At the end of the lesson, my coach saw that I was uneasy and we spoke about this together and came to an agreement of wearing tracksuit bottoms on top of my breeches.
What has your experience been taking part in competitions?
After much encouragement from my coach and my family, I decided to participate in competitive fencing. We were worried about how I could do this if I needed to wear tracksuit bottoms over my breeches. The organisers were helpful about this at local competitions. When I wanted to take part in the BYCs, my coach contacted British Fencing and they agreed to change the rules to make this possible. This meant a lot to me and it was a turning point in my competitive fencing journey, allowing me to feel comfortable during competitions. Once again my coach really supported me, building my self confidence which in turn allowed me to focus all my attention on my fencing.
What life lessons has fencing taught you?
Fencing has taught me many lessons over the years. Before I began attending competitions, I was a very defensive fencer and afraid of being assertive in the fight. I then realised that believing in myself assisted me to be more assertive rather than always being defensive.
How has your faith helped you in fencing?
My faith has been my biggest strength throughout the years and has taught me never to give up, because every unsuccessful attempt you make is actually a step closer to victory and every experience is a life lesson. Having support so that I can make my own choices about following my beliefs while still being able to participate has been very important to me. I am very excited and looking forward to continuing my fencing journey with Four of Clubs. I am very lucky to have met such a wonderful and supportive coach who has been there for me throughout all my choices and supported me all the way.
What advice would you give to anyone else?
My advice to anyone in my position is not to let shyness and fear stand in your way. If there is something that stops you participating, it is important to communicate it to your coach or to British Fencing so that a solution can be reached. Barriers are just challenges we need to overcome together so that the sport can get better for everyone.
Do you have your own story to share? Email [email protected] to appear in the My Fencing World series!
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