J: So what kind of traditions do you do as a member of the fencing team?
W: When we’re facing our rivals, we basically always dress up in a specific way, but the coaches, about 10 years ago, I think, started this thing where when we’re away – or even when people come to our tournaments at home. Basically, we dress completely in black for that day and put caution tape on us. And, then, we, well, if we don’t have caution tape, we still wear all back, but it’s supposed to show, you know, “Warning, we’re dangerous, we’re gonna take you out.” That type of thing.
J: How’d it get started?
W: Um, it kinda got started, when the people who were in charge were like, “Hey, we should dress up and show the other team how intimidating we are!” So it’s not like, the coach per se, but more so the people who are in charge – the heads, or the captains. And they’re like, “Hey people, this is what we’re doing!” And it’s carried on through the years, even though, some of the captains have left.
To mix things up, I wanted to include some occupational folklore into the collection so I decided to ask my suite mate, who is from New Jersey, about one of the traditions of his fencing team back home. It’s very interesting that fencing would be found there, but I suppose the sport is becoming ubiquitous at this point. Also, it is fascinating to note that instead of the traditional garb, caution tape and black outfits are used as a ritual to form team unity and also intimidate the opposing team. I see this amalgamation of a traditional sport, mixed with ingenuity, that is also carried out year to year as an evolution of folklore that the world is going to see more of. People tend to think of folklore as traditions that were started years in the past, but as proven by this collection piece, new traditions can start everyday!