Orion Fencing in Orchards

The desire to whack sticks together seems so ingrained, it’s a wonder that fencing — a combat sport where players in protective gear engage in formalized swordplay — isn’t as common as football or basketball. That’s just what Justin Meehan, 53, founder of Orion Fencing in Orchards, would like to see. He and the other coaches at Orion are working to change the perception of fencing as a niche sport played by only a few. In practice, they say the sport is inclusive and adaptable, welcoming a broad spectrum of ages, body sizes and abilities. You don’t have to be a muscle-bound super-athlete to enjoy fencing. You just have to use your noggin and poke the other person before they poke you. “Everybody has these misconceptions about fencing, which tends to get lumped in with rowing and equestrian sports. Everybody thinks that it’s dangerous, expensive and hard.” Meehan said. “Even if you’re not the most athletic person, you can be sword fighting really quickly. You get the joy of the game at a very low ability level.” Video by Tommy Rhodes for The Columbian. Read more at

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