Foiled Again!

Meet Jonathan Wun, all-star fencer of the Stuyvesant Cobras!

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Cover Image
By Sophia Mueller

Name: Jonathan Wun

Grade: Senior

Height: 5’9”

Hair Color: Black

Eye Color: Brown

Date of Birth: April 14, 2006

  1. When and how did you start fencing? How long have you been on the Cobras, Stuyvesant’s fencing team?

I joined my middle school fencing team during seventh or eighth grade, mainly because getting permission to poke my friends sounded pretty fun. I mean, what middle schooler would turn down that opportunity? During the pandemic, I started going to a fencing club outside of school, which is when I really got into fencing, and I’ve been fencing ever since. I’ve been on the Cobras since my sophomore year (freshman year being remote).

  1. What inspired you to join the fencing team here at Stuyvesant?                                                          

I think I joined the fencing team because it seemed cool to be able to fence, not only as an individual outside of school but also as a part of a team representing my school. As a bonus, there was the opportunity to make friends on a relatively small, tight-knit team.

  1. Do you fence foil or epee, and what skills/strengths are involved in the discipline? 

I fence foil. In terms of skills, I would say the most important thing is to be versatile. Of course, there are physical aspects, such as explosiveness and flexibility for lunging, sufficient arm and finger strength to manipulate the weapon, and physical endurance for long competitions. But in foil, where you have to hit the torso area of the opponent with the tip of the weapon, there are countless strategies and possibilities. On top of that, there’s the whole “right-of-way” thing that Epee doesn’t have, which makes foil a lot more elegant, in my opinion. When fencing, I often have a general game plan, but usually, these strategies fall apart as both my opponent and I adjust, in a sort of back-and-forth manner. In order to succeed, one needs to be able to quickly adapt to the situation, making split-second decisions based mainly on reflex.

  1. Do you have a most memorable/proud moment with the Cobras?

My most memorable moment definitely came from the playoffs last year. It was the finals for foil, and the epee finals, which started at the same time, had already finished. Though we ultimately lost by only a few touches, I can distinctly remember my last bout, what it felt like being watched by the entire gym, the intense silence and pressure. I recall being able to hear my every breath and my shoes squeaking, a completely different environment than the typical chaos at fencing meets.

  1. How has being a captain changed your outlook on fencing? What lessons have you learned from this that you can apply to life?

In terms of what I actually do fencing-wise, not that much has changed. I still try out silly tricks, aiming for back flicks and crazy in-fighting touches. My perspective on drills and footwork has changed a decent amount. In the past, I mainly focused on myself and did the drills given to me. Now I’m the one who has to think of the drills, who has to plan ahead and spread out conditioning days. I’d say it’s given me a different perspective on the sport, as a mediator, a spectator, and the team’s armorer. I’ve not only learned discipline and respect but also how to effectively communicate with those around me. Fencing, for me, has become something more than an individual sport. It’s become something to look forward to, a sort of puzzle to solve every afternoon.

  1. Do you have any plans to continue fencing in the future or in college? 

I’d like to, maybe as a walk-on or as a part of a club or intramural sport. But to be honest, I’m not that good outside of PSAL, so it might just be something I do for fun on the side.

  1. Do you have any pre-match superstitions or rituals?

Other than doing the same pre-game warmup, I guess I have a superstition in how I tie my shoes, making sure to double knot them and tuck the extra loops into the third lace down from the top. And while it’s not a superstition, I usually take a quick nap before games, listening to music with a towel on my head. As a team, we have this little chant sort of thing: “Clear eyes, full heart” (x2), “1, 2, 3, … Stuy!”

  1. What are your individual goals for this season? What are the team’s goals for the rest of the season?

My goal is to be more consistent between practices and competitions. I used to struggle with this more, but in the past year, I think the gap between my fencing at practice and at tournaments has begun to shrink. I’d also like to pass on some of my armory skills, or else next year might be in jeopardy if nobody’s equipment works. As a team, I’d say the goal is to improve and learn something new every practice while having fun and enjoying ourselves. And, of course, to win.

  1. What are the best and worst parts of fencing? 

The worst parts come the day after. Being drenched in sweat and wearing a smelly uniform. Treating injured shins and bruised hands. Having trouble walking with sore muscles after hours of practice. But the best parts are the moments spent with teammates and clubmates, fencing late into the night, long after the sun has gone down. Having a goal in common, laughing, and having fun along the way. The feeling of elation after winning.

  1. What does a typical practice look like?

Practice generally starts with either a run (involving a lot of stairs and avoiding hallway obstacles) and/or “gloveball” (handball with a balled-up fencing glove). After stretching, we do footwork and/or conditioning. Then we usually just fence, sometimes with specific drills or moves in mind, experimenting and honing attacks and other actions.

  1. Is it hard to get into the sport of fencing for beginners?

Is it hard? Not ridiculously so. Is it easy? Definitely not. Getting into the sport takes a lot of effort, requiring one to take the initiative to try out for school sports teams or go to clubs outside of school. And it generally costs a decent amount, which often poses hardships for newcomers. But if anyone really wants to try out the sport, there are plenty of opportunities out there.

Funniest Teammate: Israel Stahl

Favorite Professional Fencer: Gerek Meinhardt

Fencing on Full or Light Stomach: Light

Favorite Sports Drink: Blue Gatorade

Favorite Post-Match Snack: Brown Sugar Bubble Tea and Hello Panda cookies

Hobbies: Mobile games (Clash of Clans/Battle Cats), drawing/painting, baking, 3D modeling, violin 

If You Could Play Another Sport: Tennis 

Motto to Live By: Give yourself a break, you deserve it. 

Fun Fact: I have a collection of monkey stuffed animals.