As a digital marketing consultant for SportPort, mother and competitive fencer, Lydia Fabry, recently came back from this year’s 2018 Veteran Fencing World Championships carrying home the heavy weight of both gold and silver medals.
Lydia Fabry, a veteran saber fencer at age 58 living in the Southern California area, is part of a select group of women fencers who was ranked high enough to be asked to represent the U.S. in the elite veteran fencing world championships that were held internationally this year in Maribor, Slovenia. She made us all proud by returning home with a new personal ranking of 2nd in the World and 1st in the USA for her weapon and division. Plus, she helped the US Women’s Saber Team to bring home the gold.
SportPort appreciates that our team works hard, plays hard and holds that competitive spirit. Doing so with such grace and right here in the United States, makes us proud every day. We interviewed Lydia to find out a bit more about the interesting sport of fencing and how she keeps up with her competitive edge and high-performance needed to win:
SportPort: Can you tell us how you got started in the sport of fencing?
Lydia: I found fencing later in life, in my early 40’s. My daughter was introduced to Foil fencing in High School. Being a mom who carpooled the kids everywhere, I’d always stay and watch their sporting events. I found it fascinating and intriguing. My daughter’s coach suggested I give fencing a try since I was sitting there anyway. So, I did. That was in Foil, a different weapon from what I compete in these days. Now I fence Saber.
SportPort: Can you tell us a little bit more about the different weapons in the sport of fencing?
Lydia: There are 3 weapons used in the modern Olympic sport of fencing and competition; Foil, Epee and Saber. The easiest way to distinguish the three is that Foil is used to stab or thrust into areas of the vital organs of your opponent using the point of the blade and with specific right-of-way rules. Epee is also used to stab or thrust into your opponent, but without right-of-way rules, with touches being allowed anywhere on the body. People may have heard the saying “to draw first blood”, well, that comes from Epee. Then there’s Saber, my weapon. That one is used as a cutting weapon, slice and dice [she laughs], like Zorro and what the Calvary would use when fighting on horse-back. The rules include specific right-of-way ones, with the target anywhere on the body above the waist, above where you would be sitting on your horse, leaving the horse alone in a fight or battle.
SportPort: Sounds a bit dangerous. Is it safe? Does your age affect your abilities?
Lydia: The sport of fencing is actually quite safe. That is, as long as you train properly and wear the proper outfit and safety gear required. No matter what age you are, this sport can do a body good. After discovering the sport, I realized how much it benefited me both physically and mentally, for my body and my mind. It didn’t matter that I started it late in life, it still was good for me and good to me! As a business owner in the digital & online space, my job has me sitting in front of computer screens for hours on end, researching and doing work to help various clients. I need something to get me out of that desk chair and the gym just isn’t my kind of thing. Fencing engaged me and kept my interest! Best of all, it keeps me in shape… at my age!
SportPort: How does training for fencing work? And, where do you do this?
Lydia: I’m a different one when it comes to this sport of fencing. While most should and do have coaches, I am primarily self-taught. I watched and learned. It worked for me. Anyone else, I strongly recommend finding a good, reputable fencing club that abides by the formats and rules the US Fencing Organization expects and those of the FIE (International Fencing Federation). Then look for a good coach to help you get started correctly. I work out at the West Coast Fencing Academy in the Los Angeles area. There are two high-level coaches there, Nick Kovalev, who holds various Olympic medals for saber, and Gherman Zilbershteyn [Lydia had to send us the spelling], who started fencing and competing in saber over 40 years ago. Both great guys.
SportPort: Is there a better age to start fencing?
Lydia: I say to anyone to try it at any time, at any age. There’s so much one can benefit from the sport no matter what age. I know of one gal who decided to start fencing in her 70’s and has fun with it. Of course, if you have years ahead of others, you might be able to do better. But, I’ve seen many, including myself, where the sport just naturally fits and likes the person.
SportPort: So, can you tell us a bit about the gold & silver fencing medals you brought back to the US this year from the World fencing event?
Lydia: I am proud of what I was able to do for myself this year in fencing. My silver medals from the World event are for the 2nd place I took in my individual women’s Saber event. There were 14 countries represented and 34 top fencers competing in my individual event and over 50 countries with more than 800 fencers involved overall at the Veteran Fencing World Championships this year. So, even though I’d rather take home an individual gold medal, silver isn’t too shabby. It leaves me with a new ranking as 2nd in the World and 1st in the US in my division. I can say proudly that our US women’s saber team, together, did a great job taking 1st place and bringing home the gold for Veteran Team USA.
SportPort: One last question, where does this take you? What are your future plans for fencing?
Lydia: I hope that bringing back these medals and better rankings to the US helps to also bring more recognition to the sport of fencing overall and to help engage all ages and genders to the sport. In the US, it’s a bit of an underground sport and not very well known or recognized here. We have some awesome fencers in the US, making incredible marks and impressions worldwide. I hope these things all help add to the US popularity for fencing. As for me, there’s no rest and I’m back to training when I’m not working! I have a lot of new women ‘gunning’ for me and my position in my division, both in the US and at the World level. I’m not ready to let it go. So, I’m off to a US National event in Portland, Oregon this month. One step at a time, or as we say in fencing, “one touch at a time” is what’s in my future for fencing.
References & More Info:
Team USA Athlete Bios – Lydia Fabry: http://www.usafencing.org/page/show/3714188-lydia-fabry
USA Fencing Organization: http://www.usafencing.org/
USA Veteran Fencing: http://www.usafencing.org/veteran-fencing
International Fencing Federation: http://fie.org/