Vivo Fencer Profile – Aaron Jaeger
What first got you interested in fencing?
My brother took an after-school fencing class in middle school. I was jealous that he got to play with swords. So, when I was old enough, I signed up for the class.
You were originally a saber fencer before shifting to epee. Is there a saber-type move that you use to your advantage against epee fencers?
In saber I had to deal with priority, there were no double touches. If I was retreating, a simple way to steal the right-of-way was to make my opponent stop. In epee people aren’t concerned whether they have stopped their forward motion. Sometimes fencers take too long to end their advance, take a step back, and for a short time they are standing in place. When that happens, many times they are too close to me and it is the perfect distance for me to attack.
You and your school team are Robotics World Champions! Do you have any specific skills that can apply to both Robotics and Fencing?
Fencing is all about problem solving. In fencing there are many different moves that I can do, and not everything works against every opponent. If I lose a touch, I remember what didn’t work, and then I try another move. It is the same in robotics. I try to always keep in mind that there is no one solution to make the robot work. Parts that are supposed to withstand hundreds of pounds of force can snap like twigs. I try to figure out what went wrong, and move on to try something else.
What do you like most about fencing?
Fencers make great friends. I have become friends with everyone here at the club over the last two and half years. Vivo Fencers are very friendly and also very intelligent. When I go to competitions I have even more friends. Friendships can start as easily as complimenting an opponent after the bout, a friendly taunt before the bout, asking for advice, or simply from talking in between bouts to pass the time.
What advice would you give a Vivo fencer who is making their first trip to Summer Nationals
Make sure you have your team-mates’ phone numbers! There is down time before and after events, and hanging out with friends is a good way to calm your nerves. There are a lot of people at Summer Nationals, and it’s hard to find your friends. Also, it is easier to make plans if you can easily connect. And try to make some new friends, you will see these fencers everywhere you compete in the next few years.
First Published in Vivo’s Monthly Newsletter in May 2013.