Athletes of Irvington High: Grace Yin


I’m Grace, and I do fencing. I started fencing in around sixth grade during summer when my mom found a group plan for fencing classes and introductory fencing. I do épée, which is one of three types of fencing. The difference is that in épée, the entirety of your opponent’s body is your most viable target. So you can hit anywhere on their whole body and it would count as a point. But for the other two types of fencing, this isn’t true because they have specific areas on the body that you can hit, and the other areas don’t count for points. At the place where I do fencing, there are only two types available: foil and épée. Foil is harder than épée, so in the beginning, I just decided to go with épée, since it has fewer rules and less specific targets. 

Since I started in sixth grade, I’ve been doing fencing for around five years. Over time, I believed that as long as I consistently train, then I will get better at it. So that’s how I got to the level I am at now. There is also a rating system for fencing, the official one, so most of my friends in fencing got theirs relatively recently, within the past year. The rating system goes from “e” to “a”, and the possible rating you can get or what place you have to be to get that rating is determined by how many people are in that competition, how many people there are, and the ratings of the competitors there. But this past year, due to COVID, I wasn’t able to go to any competitions, so I haven’t gotten a rating yet. I’m looking forward to it soon, though. 

I enjoy the competitive aspects of fencing. Being able to win is one thing that keeps me coming back for more. I also really enjoy being able to hang out with my fencing friends, since most of them don’t live nearby. 

The competition I remember the most is the competition where I got my first medal. That was several years ago. It was my first medal and that was a big moment for me. One setback I faced was COVID. The pandemic didn’t allow me to practice for about a year, so I didn’t get to improve or go to any competitions during that time and get a rank. Besides COVID, in the past, competitions used to be a lot more stressful for me, and I did not enjoy going to them at all because there was a lot of pressure to do well. That actually made me do worse because of how stressed I was. It did make me dislike the sport, but I didn’t quit because I still had it in me to want to improve more so I could prove people wrong.