“It’s really pretty unusual for teammates to qualify for a competition like this,” said Ridge. Of the 50 men competing in Veteran 60 Men’s Epee at the World Veteran Fencing Championship in Poreč, Croatia, recently, four were from the United States. Two of those were members of Bucks County Academy of Fencing, including Drew Ridge (right), who won the bronze medal, and Jim Flint (left), who secured the 15th spot, defeating the 2010 world champion in the process.

“In order to compete in the championship, you must qualify to the event through a points system that is based on the best two out of three results in national competition,” added Flint. “Since only four fencers can qualify in each weapon/group, Drew and I were half of the U.S. team for the Veteran 60 Men’s Epee event.”

Ridge, chief of head and neck surgery at Fox Chase Cancer Center, has been fencing for 10 years – much of that time under Flint, who is a fencing master at BCAF in addition to systems analyst at Princeton University.

Flint’s history with the sport spans 42 years and includes the 2003 National Veteran Men’s Epee Championship title. This was Ridge’s fourth time representing the U.S. at the World Veteran Fencing Championship. He competes in approximately 25 tournaments each year. Both men are advocates of the sport.

“Fencing is great exercise,” said Ridge. “It’s technically demanding and I hate to lose (like my job). It’s endlessly diverting. And there’s a ‘zone.’ Essentially nothing can compare to that incandescent state, when everything comes together. For me it’s a rare occasion, but part of the thrill of fencing. It’s a wonderful pastime.”

Flint added: “Fencing is a fascinating sport. There is an immense amount of fun in competing against good opponents. It is enjoyable exercise. Since you have to pay attention to your opponent to avoid being hit, you become fully immersed in the bout. One of the ways I describe fencing is that it’s like a small vacation. Since you must be focused on the fencing, you stop thinking about any problems or concerns you may have in other parts of your life.”

“Fencing is like most other martial arts. It trains you in timing, balance, distance, and thinking. Things happen fast in fencing with both fencers trying to score and avoid being scored on,” Flint said. “The higher the level of competition, the better you have to fence. As with most things, it is good to challenge yourself to work at a higher level. Competing as a member of the U.S. team is an honor and a responsibility.”

Added Ridge: “It’s exciting to fence at any level, and particularly gratifying to represent the U.S.A. and our fencing community.”

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