Tiffany Lu: fencing maven

Senior fences her way to Olympic levels


Photo courtesy of Tiffany Lu

Tiffany Lu, left, competes at the Regional Junior Cadet Circuit in Pasadena, CA. "All my Junior Olympic experiences are meaningful and memorable," Lu said.

Senior and competitive fencer Tiffany Lu balances schoolwork, fencing tournaments and practices each day.

Lu goes to competitive tournaments in which she must pass multiple rounds, including preliminary, or the first rounds, and direct elimination rounds, where she competes until only a winner remains.

Fencing is a one-on-one person sport, meaning that one does not play with a team. The athlete must be able to rely on their individual skill set.

“Fencing being a combat sport, to win means you can feel no sympathy for your opponent, and your whole heart must be sold to crushing them by any and all means,” fellow competitive fencer and junior Justin Ho wrote to the Talon.

Although fencing can be an aggressive sport, it has roots dating back to 18th century Europe, thus it has been known as the “gentleman’s sport” similar to sword fighting, but with different types of rules.

Lu has been fencing for over 10 years and is a five-time Junior Olympian. According to Ho, it takes a combination of skill, sophistication and understanding of the sport to perform well in tournaments.

“When Tiffany fences seriously, it’s almost scary really how different she is from her normal personality. It’s cold, as you would expect from anyone who is really focused,” Ho wrote.

When it comes to time management, Lu said she has had many years of practice needing to balance all of her practices and tournaments with the fast-paced curriculum of Oak Park High School.

“I remember whenever I have to travel to a tournament, I always have to let my teacher know a few weeks in advance just to get assignments done in time. Or maybe reschedule my quizzes or exams to take it before or after I return,” Lu said. “It is a lot of communication with the teachers.”

According to Ho, Lu is very talented at what she does, and the people around her can see it. In addition to being a five-time Junior Olympian, Lu won a bronze medal in the 2018 Junior Olympics.

“All my Junior Olympic experiences are meaningful and memorable. Every Junior Olympic is a new experience — traveling across the nation to a different city, meeting new people and seeing old friends, engaging in a city’s culture, learning about its historic significance, visiting its famous landmarks, and trying its food specialties” Lu wrote.

According to Lu, being a Junior Olympian requires a lot of hard work, and at some points even luck. You have to qualify in order to compete, and some things are out of the control of the athlete, such as the referee and the opponent.

“I believe I got there by not quitting during those times and staying in the competitive fencing world, maintaining and working hard to improve/build my abilities, and knowing and staying focused on what I am doing,” Lu wrote.

For Lu, fencing has been a major part of her life, and although she doesn’t want to pursue a career in fencing, the sport will continue to be something she does during her time at college.

“I am really passionate about fencing. It is my outlet for relieving stress from school, and it is really enjoyable,” Lu wrote.