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Martin Jordan was just playing around with friends one evening during a Fencing practice session that was being held at his school.
He is now a fencer– all sport aside. Martin has been fencing for the past four years as a member of the Barbados Fencing Federation, a sport, he said, he never thought he would be in. “I got into fencing when the Federation was having their fencing at Harrison College. I was in 6th form, and my friends and I went to see what it was about,” he said, “We started playing around with the swords, but then I became interested after that.”
He said while the sport was unpopular since many Barbadians did not know that the sport existed, he was positive that in time and with promotion, people would become interested. “Fencing is very small in Barbados. We have about 20 persons ranging from 15 years old to over 60. Fencing is good for people of all ages,” he said.
Martin said the first time he competed internationally was at the 2015 Pan American Fencing Championships in Chile. He also competed at this year’s Pan Am Games, and at the recent National Championships in Dominican Republic, where he won three medals. “We went Dominican Republic recently, and we basically ‘mash up’ everything,” he noted, “I won a bronze in Foil, a gold in Épée and a silver in Sabre, adding that it was his first time fencing Sabre.
He said Épée was his favourite sword because it was easier to understand, and it was the type of sword he used when he began fencing.
“When I started out, we were doing Épée. With Épée the target area is the whole body so I can hit my opponent anywhere on their body and get a point,” he explained, “With Foil it’s more technical because it’s a smaller weapon. I like the simplicity of Épée.”
He said many people had reservations about fencing because of the use of swords, but that it was actually one of the safest sports to play. “Fencing is a very safe sport. The layers of clothing you have to wear is stab-proof– nothing is getting through your mask. Also, with fencing you can’t hit to the back of the head,” he said.
Martin, who currently has his hands full with fencing and pursuing a degree in medicine, said he was involved in many sports over the years and believed that sports played an important role in any society. “I think sports is very important. It helps with your academics, it helps with your perception, and teaches you restraint and patience; knowing when to strike– when is the right time to do things. “I’ve done a bunch of sports– I used to swim competitively with Alpha Swim Club; I did karate, rugby, cricket, lawn-tennis, I even used to play netball,” he said, pointing out that it was fencing which captured and retained his attention.
“I got injured playing football, and I got bored of cricket. Fencing just had more to offer me,” he noted, “I love being on the team, and also getting to travel. Plus, the people at fencing are very warm and funny.”
The easy-going medical student, whose little brother is also a fencer, said he likes to hang out with friends during his limited spare time. “I just started rotations at the hospital–12-hour calls, so I hardly have any down time but when I do I usually spend it with friends at the movies or go out for drinks,” Martin said.