Web Extra: 18th Century sport gaining in popularity in AR

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. –  Sword fighting is in mainstream culture – it’s in movies, tv shows, and plays. 

However, the sport of modern fencing is less familiar to many in the Natural State than its Hollywood counterpart but is slowly gaining in popularity. 

“There are only like five fencing camps in Arkansas,” says Jaxon Wickliffe a fencer who practices with the Central Arkansas Fencing Club inside the Pulaski Heights Baptist Church. 

Jaxon, 16, has been playing the sport since he was 13-years-old. Although it was hard for him to find other students to train and spare with he was determined to continue his passion.  

“I saw the sport while watching the Olympics and I wanted to try it,” explains Jaxon. “I really fell in love with the sport and how it helps me with my day-to-day life.” 

The sport of fencing dates back to the 18th Century. It has roots in Spain and France. 

For Jaxon, he says he wanted a sport that not only challenged him but stood out. 

“Not everyone knows what fencing is and I enjoy telling them about it,” says Jaxon. “I  learned a lot of patience  as well as a lot of discipline through messing up and every little error can affect how you win or lose in the game.” 

Jaxon is scheduled to attend MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts this summer for an athletic training program. 

“I hope to get a scholarship for it or try to at least compete,” explains Jaxon. “I hope to compete at statewide if not nationwide.” 

For more information on how to get involved, click here. 

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