Most mothers scold their children if caught playing with something sharp.
Luckily for Kendric McIntyre, his mother encouraged it.
As a 6-year-old living in Germany, McIntyre’s mother wanted her son to socialize through athletics.
“When we first moved to Germany, my mom wanted me to do a sport ... to help out my German (language skills),” recalled the 16-year-old Greenbrier High junior.
The McIntyres had moved to the country where his father worked as a civilian employee for the U.S. Army. Soon after the move, his mother visited a nearby sports facility and found a fencing class among its offerings.
“She thought it was a unique sport and that maybe I’d like it,” McIntyre said. “I tried it and ever since I’ve kept with it.”
In the decade since McIntyre first took up the sport, he has improved to the point of becoming a fencing champion.
Recently, McIntyre won the Georgia Junior Olympics for epee fencing in his age group and will compete in February at the Junior Olympic national qualifiers in Salt Lake City, Utah. He’ll be representing the Georgia Division of United States Fencing.
Starting the sport in Germany, McIntyre said, likely put him ahead of other epee competitors in the region.
There are three types of fencing – epee, foil and sabre – named for the swords used in each style.
In the U.S., foil and sabre are most popular. But Germans prefer the epee, said McIntyre.
As an epeeist, McIntyre said he enjoys the less restrictive rules.
Points in foil and sabre matches can be scored only when an opponent is struck on the upper body, and only if struck using an offensive move.
In epee, McIntyre said strikes count anywhere on the body and can be made using offensive and defensive maneuvers.
“Your whole body is the target,” he said. “I could hit your shoe and that would count.”
Currently, McIntyre said he practices twice each week, but soon intends to start daily workouts as he prepares for qualifiers.
Since moving to Evans about a year ago, he practices at the Augusta Fencing Club.
New friends McIntyre said he has made since returning to the U.S. often are impressed by his chosen sport.
“It’s an eye-opener,” he said. “When I bring up fencing, everyone is like, ‘Oh? Wow?’
“That’s what I love about this sport: It’s not that common.”