Imperial Fencing Takes Paris

Members of Imperial Fencing are away at the X-Systra competition this week. This annual student competition is held at École polytechnique in Paris and attracts fencers from all over the world.

Keep an eye on this post for (probably  sporadic) updates on the competition from all the group (Mainly from Grace and some from/edited by Haroon)

Thursday 11th February


After rushing to get everyone to St. Pancras we’ve successfully managed to get on the Eurostar to Paris and are now in France.


Things we have learnt about the fencers since starting the trip:
– Monica looks suspicious enough to require a pat down at security. She also subconsciously flaunts it to get two coffee cups and two biscuits
– Joanna sleeps in bizarre positions
– Haroon has a special face he pulls when he thinks he is being cute
– Fem doesn’t know what gates are.
-Tamanna cannot tell if it is the 10 second tunnel or the hour long tunnel that was the main tunnel connecting England and France.
-Jamie was defeated by a plug adaptor, scarring him physically and emotionally
– Grace hates suitcases with a passion.


It turns out that a significant portion of the group are unable to use the metro system and managed to get off one stop too early resulting in a sub group of five people being formed.


The main party is embarking on a walk through the city heading past Notre dame stopping for a group photo ( minus Fem, Caitlin, Sophie and Thomas who were getting drunk in bar, possibly drowning sorrows of the realisation that they couldn’t use the metro). And now onto a coffee shop for a well needs caffeine boost!


The hill leading to the centre is definitely over exaggerated. Admittedly it is quite steep and there are a lot of steps (by a lot I mean way over 100) but after carrying a massive rucksack and helping lug the swords up the hill I feel it was definitely made to sound much worse than it actually was.
Reaching the top resulted in a disappointing dinner consisting of cat-food looking cans of tuna mayonnaise but as phrased by Joanna “I would eat cat food if it were put in front of me”


We are finally reunited. Fem is very drunk and having fallen over hugging Joanna has now lost her shoe. She now has resulted to crawling under the table. (Having spoken to Fem after the trip I quote “That was the best bit of the trip”)


After the dinner (or lack thereof) some of the group decided that more food was necessary. Heading towards the exit the question of how many imperial students does it take to open a door was answered with two plus someone that works in the centre.

Monica really was having a good day at getting free stuff and as a result of more subconscious flaunting ended up with two and a half free chickens! How she manages this is a mystery to us all!

Friday 12th February

To summarise a sweat inducing, cheering filled day of fencing; some of us fence well, some amazingly and I think it’s fair to say there is definite room for improvement amongst the rest of us!

Caitlin was the star fencer finishing third overall in the women’s épée! YAY CONGRATULATIONS!!!!


The other results for women’s épée meant Maria came 6th, Carys in the final 16th and despite best efforts Monica and Grace didn’t make it past the first round after pools.
In the women’s sabre Angie and Joanna were also both knocked out just after pools.
Neither Tamanna nor Fem made it past direct elimination in women’s foil but Sophie made it to the final 16.

In the men’s side of the competition Jamie was our best épéeist coming in fifth. Charles came in 16th. Tom made it to the final 32 and Haroon and Noah to the final 64. Gianluca didn’t make it past the first round after pools.

Sophie amazed us by falling asleep buried in a pile of kit and managed to stay asleep despite frequent, rowdy cheers. Admittedly Imperial does seem to be the most enthusiastic group here by a considerable way and were responsible for most of that noise. Maybe Sophie has developed selective hearing so can block us out? An impressive skill but potentially disastrous consequences if plans change suddenly and the filters are turned on. Maybe that’s the reason Sophie was in the group separated from the main party yesterday.


Cheese and wine night tonight plus it’s Fems birthday (HAPPY BIRTHDAY FEM!!) so there are plenty of people wanting an abundant supply of alcohol. If everyone here is like drunken Fem then tonight could be interesting!


As we watch the men’s épée finals it becomes apparent that Maria has a thing for guys in breeches. She feels the need to take and share these photos:

We are here for you Maria to help you through this.

Saturday 13th February

Mixed results from the team matches today. Pretty sure everyone is still recovering from the shock of Fem and Tamanna making it through to the podium matches for first and second place! Sophie you are a brilliant influence on your team mates! We are currently waiting for their final match to kick off where Fem will and sporting luminous stripy socks and Tamanna in converses. Good luck guys!

Congratulations to Team Awkward Imperial for achieving third place in the women’s épée! Caitlin, Cary’s and Maria you all did awesomely!


The men’s first épée team made of Jamie, Charles and Tom also did incredibly well coming forth overall, just missing out on a medal position after losing to the team containing the junior world champion.

The other women’s épée team comprised of Angie, Monica and Grace made it to the final eight but were knocked out by the Austrian national team.

Haroon, Noah and Gianluca came 15th in the men’s épée after having to fence the overall winners.

Over in the men’s foil Jesus buddied up with two UCL fencers one of whom was fencing wrong handedly. After making it through two rounds they were then knocked out by the team that went on the win.


Our foil team fought valiantly but were ultimately defeated. Every point scored by our fencers raised the roof as the entire auditorium rallied behind them. The final score was 10-45 but for one experienced fencer and three novices against a national team they did incredibly well.




Another failed attempt at a group photo. Fem is missing once again.


Sunday 14th February


After a late night returning to the hotel at 3:30 there are 11 survivors that have made it to the fencing centre for breakfast. Not sure surviving is the right word….