It is no wonder that Catherine Beddingfield ‘18 has a right bicep bigger than her left. For the past six years she has been wielding the epee, the heaviest of the fencing swords, with her right hand. She has competed in tournaments for four years and recently attended her first Junior World Cup in Laupheim, Germany. This year she hopes to make the the USA Cadet and Junior Fencing Championship Team, a group made up of the top three fencers under the ages of 16 and 17, and attend world championships.
But for Catherine, fencing is not just a physical activity, it is a mental challenge. In fact, when she and her sister began fencing because at close family friend’s suggestion, it was the mental engagement that won her over.
“At first you just think you are just poking people with swords. You don’t really know what’s going on. But a huge part of fencing is the strategic aspect and the ability to just think several steps ahead or understand what’s going on in the situation at that moment. And that’s what really drew me to it because you could be the fastest, the strongest fencer but you also have to be thinking in the bout and in the moment, ” Catherine said. Catherine aims to become more unpredictable in her bouts, not always keeping to her signature moves.
Catherine decided to focus solely on fencing after two years when she began competing, giving up soccer, track and other sports she had pursued throughout her whole life. Catherine finds that her decision to focus on fencing was unquetionably the right one.
“With other sports, there were multiple occasions when I complained to my mom or dad for having to go to practice, which I think is normal; however, I’m always motivated and excited to go to fencing. Even when I’m tired, a few minutes of fencing will energize me and actually make me more focused when I am studying later,” Catherine said.
In her six years as a fencer, Catherine has grown from getting her fencing facts from The Parent Trap to being a North American Cup gold medal winner. Over the course of her fencing career, Catherine has travelled the world for competitions and has trained with world renowned fencers. For two weeks this past summer, she honed her ability to think on her feet with the Korean Nation Sport University and former national competitor, Kay Kim, in Korea. She benefited from experiencing a different fencing style with the Korean national team.