For one young Schreiber student the words, "On Guard" are music to his ears. "It's hard to believe that just four years ago those words were practically Greek to me," said David Erhlich, a sophomore at Schreiber High School, who is now competing at school fencing meets. David's first introduction to fencing was four years ago at sleep-away camp. "I made an instant connection with the sport. It's like playing physical chess. If I move one way, it causes my opponent to move another. You have to be quick, have a strategy and outsmart your opponent mentally and physically."
Since Schreiber does not have a fencing team, David competes as an independent. With the help of his mother, David travels to Oyster Bay High School two or three times a week to train and practice with their team. But David tries to get to Deer Park, where they have an Olympic caliber fencing club, at least once a week. They are the designated Fencing Center of Long Island (FCLI).
When David was first introduced to fencing at camp, it was the foil method of fencing. That method of fencing was handed down from the French nobles. David now competes in the sabre method. The third method is epee. All three are used in high school competition.
"It is certainly more difficult to compete in fencing than other sports. I have to find training centers and other schools to practice with. I'm sure if more students would try it, a team would be in the making at our school. It's exciting, fun and you meet the nicest, most interesting people," said David.
David's other interests and talents are in music. He plays the saxophone and is in the Jazz Band at school. "I'm a lucky kid, I get to play an instrument and play with a foil, my two passions. Practice is never a chore for me. It's what I like to do best with my time."