Real Life Jack Sparrows


Emily Wong, Assistant Arts and Entertainment Editor

Most people associate teenage athletes with popular sports such as basketball or soccer. The Hou siblings, however, deviate from most teenage athletes. Juniors twins Annabel and Andrew Hou are two of just a handful of DBHS students who competitively fence.

Fencing, a popular sport in Europe, includes three weapon categories: foil, sabre and épée. The Hous compete with a foil, which is the most common weapon used in competitive fencing.

Andrew was initially inspired by the swordplay in “Pirates of the Caribbean” when he joined fencing. Annabel decided to follow in her brother’s footsteps after accompanying him to sign up for classes.

Having fenced since the summer after sixth grade, the Hous have trained for nearly five years and gone through numerous coaches before finally settling on Sergei Golubitsky last September. An established Ukrainian Fencer, Golubitsky won three straight world championships in the Men’s Foil division and is considered one of the best fencing coaches in Southern California.

Going to their instructor’s fencing club, Golubitsky Fencing Center, has been fruitful for the Hous; their results in the Junior Olympics in Portland during President’s Day weekend last month proved it. In fact, Annabel placed eighth in the Junior Women’s Foil event.

“I was just surprised. I went into that event thinking I wouldn’t make it that far. I kept on fencing and not thinking about anything, and once I got into semifinals I was like ‘oh look I made it,’” Annabel said.

Although one would assume that there would be a natural rivalry between the two siblings in fencing, Annabel admitted that she dislikes fencing her brother because of his sometimes painful hits.

“When I fence her, I get the feeling she’s really scared of me,” Andrew stated.

The young fencers practice three to four times a week for three hours each lesson. This intense practice does not discourage the siblings from tackling on rigorous classes. In fact, Annabel takes five AP classes while Andrew takes four. Due to their demanding schedule, they conceded that they procrastinate on their school work.

Because the sport is not as common as others, Andrew feels that fencing is unappreciated in the United States.

“They should allow fencing in school. There should be more clubs,” Andrew said.

Annabel advises aspiring fencers to not worry too much about their bouts, the fencing term for matches.

“When I don’t stress about anything in fencing, I actually do better. When I care about the results I make, that’s when I usually mess up.”

Despite their success, the siblings will only continue fencing until they graduate from college.