First to 15: The USA Fencing Podcast

Julie Seal on Veterans Fencing and the Plan for Vet Worlds

Episode Summary

Our guest is Julie Seal, a 15-time Individual National Champion, a 2022 Veteran World Champion in Saber, and a two-time Pan American Team Bronze Medalist.

Episode Notes

We're joined by Julie Seal, a 15-time Individual National Champion, a 2022 Veteran World Champion in Saber, and a two-time Pan American Team Bronze Medalist. 

She's also a mother of five incredible children — all of whom fence — and even has a son-in-law who fences and referees as well.

And if that's not enough, she's gearing up to compete in the 2023 FIE Veteran Fencing World Championships in Daytona Beach, Florida, starting Oct. 11!


First to 15: The Official Podcast of USA Fencing

Host: Bryan Wendell

Cover art: Manna Creations

Theme music: Brian Sanyshyn

Episode Transcription





[00:00:01] BW: Hello, and welcome to First to 15, the official podcast of USA fencing. I'm your host Bryan Wendell. And in this show, you're going to hear from some of the most inspiring, interesting and insanely talented people in this sport we all love. 


First to 15 is for anyone in the fencing community and even for those just checking out fencing to see what it's all about. Whether you're an Olympian, or Paralympian, a newcomer, a seasoned veteran, a fencing parent, a fan or anyone else in this wonderful community, this podcast is for you. With that, let's get to today's episode. Enjoy. 




[0:00:40]BW: Today's episode enjoy today's guest has a fencing resume as impressive as it is diverse. Julie Seal is a 15-time individual National Champion, a 2022 Vet World champion in saber. And a two-time Pan-American Team bronze medalist. She's also the mother of five incredible children all of whom fence. We love to hear that. And even has a son-in-law who both fences and referees. 


And if that's not enough, she's gearing up to compete in the 2023 FIE Veteran Fencing World Championships in Daytona Beach, Florida just a week after this podcast comes out. Please welcome, the incredible Julie Seal.


[0:01:14] JS: Thanks.


[0:01:15]BW: Thanks so much for taking some time, Julie. And you've had an illustrious career that's spanned decades in many different divisions and classifications within fencing. I'm curious, which one is harder for you? Fencing Division 1 or fencing Vets? 


[0:01:32] JS: Well, not talking about now, but let's say that I am comparing fencing Div 1 when I was younger and fencing Vets now, I would say that they're both really hard and for different reasons. When you're fencing Div 1, you're increasing in skill. The minute you start doing Div 1, you're getting a little faster. You're getting a little stronger. You're getting better at technique. You're getting more mature. Your ability to focus is increasing. And everyone is doing that in the field. Every person is like that. 


And so, the difference, your success in Div 1 is going to depend a lot on your experience and whether you're able to really put that technique to work on strip. That's hard. But as a veteran, you're going in the opposite direction. As you get older, your speed is decreasing. Your power is decreasing. Your ability to focus on fencing is massively less. Your nutrition becomes so much more important. Half of the battle is just getting to the tournament. 


In a sense, you have to be able to give a 100% focus at the tournament in the event with only maybe 5% to 10% ability to focus outside of the event. Because at home, you're like taking care of kids, or groceries, or your work, or just so many things that are on your mind. Adult responsibilities that get heavier and heavier as your age and your body gets less and less there for you. It's kind of like the difference between sprinting and then like endurance racing. Except you have to go to the bathroom a lot more.


[0:03:13]BW: And maybe that's one of the reasons why Vet bouts are to 10 points, right? For that very reason. 


[0:03:17] JS: Yeah. 


[0:03:19]BW: All joking aside, the fact that these are 10-touch bouts, which some people pointed out when they heard this podcast. It was called first to 15. They were like are, "You're living out the vets." And I said, "No. No. We love the vets." But 10-touch bouts, to me, just the math says that there's less room for error. Because each point is that much more important. Are there other differences between vet fencing and Div 1, Div 2 fencing that you've noticed other than just the score, the target score? 


[0:03:49] JS: Well, I would say there's probably two big differences. And the first one is the fencing happens at a much closer distance. And if you've ever done para fencing, people will tell you there's a huge difference between strip fencing and chair fencing. And the reason is because you're so close. You better be ready to hit right away. You better be ready to defend. There's no grace you can give yourself with feet and chair fencing. 


And the same thing applies quite a bit in vet fencing. The vets are not going to do those big movements that might give you a little bit of extra time in a bout. They're coming over to you and it's going to be right in your face fencing. You know what I mean? That's one thing. 


And then the other thing is that Div 1 fencing tends to be a lot of emphasis on your physical ability. A counterattack is a huge action in Div 1 fencing. But in vet fencing, the vets want to play the game. They want to give you the blade and see what your brain does with that action. They really want to have a relationship on strip. And that, in a sense, is very satisfying. You really have a relationship with everybody you're fencing in veterans.


[0:05:08]BW: That's cool. I like thinking about that. And you've been around the sport long enough to have seen things that have gone well and things that maybe you would have changed. I mean, if you had a magic saber, what would you do to improve the sport of fencing for the next Julie Seal that comes along? 


[0:05:25] JS: I would make it more affordable.


[0:05:27]BW: Okay.


[0:05:28] JS: I think that the moving parts in fencing, specifically the tip in foil and épée, that's actually really hard to financially keep up with. But then other than that, just the cost of belonging to a club and having personal lessons. And especially, the competitive opportunities. 


I was really happy to see that USA Fencing amended their para fees recently to make para fencing more affordable. But, honestly, we need to think about how we can make fencing more affordable for everyone. 


Sports is being pressed right out of the stratosphere lately. It's not just fencing. It's like baseball. You can't get on a baseball team in high school unless you've done a travel ball team. Being on a travel ball team is going to be anywhere from $2,000 to $3,000 per season. We're really pricing so much of the population out of sports. 


[0:06:23]BW: And you see that as a mother of five athletes, right? You feel that firsthand. Don't you? 


[0:06:30] JS: I know. I keep saying to Phil, "When am I going to get – I need a card. So that anytime I do that, I get buy 10, get one free." I think that's the reason why we're seeing pickleball become so popular or sports like skating are really popular. Because people without a lot of money can do it. It's kind of my pet issue as I move forward to try to find more ways to get people involved. 


[0:06:53]BW: Yeah, totally. And we talk about people who have large families in the sport. And just you alone compete in all three weapons, right? And and you've meddled internationally in épée, foil and saber, which is super impressive. And back to the cost that sometimes can triple your costs, I would imagine, at a tournament. 


[0:07:11] JS: Oh, my gosh. Yeah.


[0:07:12]BW: But how do you manage just the physical side of being a three-weapon fencer or even when you're competing at tournaments in two weapons? How do you maintain that?


[0:07:22] JS: That's funny. Because I thought that question was going to be a little bit different. But I tend to be a little bit foil-heavy. It's my personal opinion. I mean, foil's the training weapon. I'm not arguing with anybody out there. This is just my personal opinion, which is that, if you're a good foil fencer, you're good at everything fencer. 


Foil makes you use both directions. It incorporates changes of tempo, and speed and big distances. And it makes you extra accurate on your execution of the action. And so, I feel like just, tactically speaking, that helped me a lot with saber. And then, distance-wise, that helped me a lot with épée. 


And I've learned a lot over the years. I was just willing to play. If somebody needed somebody – I'm here in Utah. There's not always – if I go to some place to fence and there might be 15 people in the club and 10 of them show up and they all want to fence épée, I'd rather fence than not fence. I'm like, "Okay. Well, I'll get my épée out." And that's what I'll fence. You know what I mean? 


[0:08:29]BW: Right. Totally.


[0:08:30] JS: That worked out for me when I was going to competitions. My very first saber competition, they needed people to be in the competition because we were trying to get women to fence saber. I borrowed my coach's saber gear and I said, "What do I do?" And he said, "Just fence foil." And for a long time, that's what I did until I started learning – build nuances of each weapon, you know? 


[0:08:56]BW: Yeah. I never thought of it like that. Your training schedule obviously is effective. The results bear that out. What is the best way for veterans to train effectively, especially when, like all of us out there, they're juggling other responsibilities as well? 


[0:09:14] JS: Yeah. First thing on the list is nutrition. It's number one. It's number one. You got to get rid of sugar. And sugar is like our big vice. Like what we use to cope with stress a lot of times. But you just have to get it out of your diet. It causes inflammation. It causes you to have extra pounds. And just has so many problems. 


The next thing is up in your protein. You really have – as you age, you have to have way more protein. Twice as much protein. Number two is mobility training. And there's a lot of videos online, on YouTube, on Instagram, TikTok that these experts in mobility training. It doesn't really matter who you choose. I mean, they all have their benefits. What matters is that you get out there, and move around and make sure that all of your joints are still working in all the ways they're supposed to. 


And then number three, weight training. It's so ironic that as we get older – when we're younger, we're like, "Oh, I'm going to get in there and get in the gym and look good." But then we hit like 40, between 40 and 45, and your kids are getting older and you just have so much on your plate, weightlifting tends to drop off the radar. But that's right about when you need to start amping up your weightlifting. You really need to use that to keep the integrity of your muscles, and make sure your bones are still dense and that you can still perform the actions. 


I actually believe that aging is a matter of lethargy. If you're sitting around, if you're sitting at your computer all the time, if you're finding ways to make your life more comfortable over and over again, you're going to get softer and weaker. You have to really make an effort to keep your training regimen in place.


And then the last is choose your belts at practice for improvement and not for your ego. Make sure that when you're deciding who to fence, you're not just fencing easy bouts. And you're not saying to yourself, "Oh, I have to fence all the Div 1 guys, all the young kids in order to make sure I'm good." Sometimes I fence with the Y-14 girls. Because I feel like they're the craziest ones in my club. They'll do the weirdest things. And that makes me solve more problems. 


[0:11:29]BW: Right. Exactly. It's back to those problems that you want to solve out on the strip. You were recently named Veteran of the Year for USA fencing. Congratulations on that.


[0:11:37] JS: Thank you. 


[0:11:38]BW: We've talked a little bit about what the fencing scene looks like in the US. But when you travel internationally as a vet fencer, what stands out to you about that scene? 


[0:11:50] JS: The camaraderie.


[0:11:51]BW: Okay. 


[0:11:52] JS: I love fencing. I loved it when I was young, and it was so intense and it was so hard. But we were all, I mean, kids. And you have so many adults putting expectations on them. The adults are paying for all of their stuff. And everybody's just completely overwhelmed with trying to be what these adults around them expect them to be and to accomplish their dreams. It makes it hard to be friends. 


Now that in veterans, we're paying for ourselves. We all understand how much effort it takes to just get to the competition. We all understand winning. We all understand losing. We're all so grateful to be there. And I was amazed at World Championships last year in Croatia how many people went out of their way to come, introduce themselves to me, get my email address and be friends on Facebook. 


And in foil, I lost to the Italian that eventually won the championship for foil. And the Germans all came running over to me and they were like, "That was such a great bout. Here's a beer." They were just so incredibly friendly. And it's true in the United States too. The vet community, I'll say, and probably every vet will agree with me, veteran fencing is way better than any other division.


[0:13:19]BW: Yeah. I mean, you see that even like at a knack, at the awards ceremony, at the medal ceremony. There's people who maybe they got out in the 16 or earlier and they're there cheering on the medalists. And that always strikes me as very telling about what that community is like and what the character of that community is. I just love to see that. 


You're a four-time Vet Team National Champion as well. And you'll be expected to compete in team events at Vet Worlds. The structure for how those teams are selected is based on how you perform at the tournament itself. That's why we don't know the exact teams. But odds are you'll be there. What is the secret to building a successful team in vet fencing and taking home a medal in that event? 


[0:14:09] JS: I think that the top two things you can do is have very clear communication and have a job for every person outside of the fencing. That gives you value as a team member beyond your performance on the strip. When a team falls apart, it's because each member is worried about pulling their weight on the team. Each member wants to be additive and valued, as deserving to be on the team. Then when you're out on the strip, things go right sometimes, but sometimes they go terribly wrong. And it tends to chip away at the confidence of that person. And then the next person feels like they have to make up for it. It's just this cascading effect. 


But if everyone has a job and they all agree on the job beforehand, then everybody retains value aside from that performance. When I do teams, there's the person that's getting ready to fence. And their job is to focus on getting ready to fence. The next person on deck is going to be hooking up the person that's about to fence. The person that's in the hall is going to be making sure that the person that's hooking up has all of their equipment and is reminding them of last-minute things to consider. 


The person that is the replacement athlete is going to have the score sheet and keeping communication with the coach and making sure that any communication that needs to happen between the coach and the athletes is facilitated. Any extra water bottles or anything like that. When everybody has a job that is clearly supportive of one another, the team starts to feel the love and becomes more unified.


[0:15:50]BW: And that builds that atmosphere that we love about the team event at any level and especially at vets. I'm excited to witness that in person in Daytona. I want to switch gears to one of your other roles, which is a club owner. You've been a club owner for 30 years. And we want to give a shout-out to Valkyrie Fencing Club. What's your biggest piece of advice for your fellow club owners?


[0:16:14] JS: I would say that the most important thing is to decide what your personal goals are as a club owner. What are you trying to get out of owning a club? And keep it – write it down and put it on your billboard, or your corkboard, or somewhere that you can see it. And keep it big in your mind, so that all your goals go around. It's so easy to get caught up in the frenzy. 


I mean, fences are all A-type personalities. Very high achievers. High IQ. Very driven people. And we all love the competition with one another. It's so easy to get caught up and wanting to be the best at everything. And sometimes that's not your goal. 


And for me, my goal was to have a club that I could fence in and have people to practice with. When I learned to fence, there was just a club at the local university. No youth fencing in Utah to speak of. No veteran fencing in Utah to speak of. Just kids that picked up a weapon and had been fencing for less than a year. 


When I do a fencing club here, my goal is to always have a place where people can come fence. That's the most important thing. Sometimes we don't have as many people going to national tournaments as like Massialis Fencing Foundation or some of the other clubs. And I'm okay with that. Because I always tell myself, "Well, is that what I want?" And the answer is, for me personally, no. What I want is to have this really rich fencing community that helps serve my kids. Is a good place for my kids to learn things. Is a good place for me to train. Promotes fencing in Utah. And provides an intelligent, productive activity for my local community. That's what I would say.


[0:18:05]BW: I love that. Yeah, find your passion and put it up on the wall, right? Yeah, I love that. You're also a three-weapon national referee. People at tournaments will see you in your fencing whites and then they'll see you – all of a sudden, you're in a suit ready to referee. I'm like, "Wait. Is that Superwoman?" How has being a referee influenced your fencing perspective? 


[0:18:28] JS: In good ways and bad ways.


[0:18:30]BW: Okay. 


[0:18:31] JS: In bad ways because I know that referees are completely fallible. They get tired. The coach screams at them or the bout before, something catastrophic happens. Things happen in fencing. You missed a call and you know later that was wrong. And you beat yourself up over it. And it just affects you throughout the day. 


As a referee, you really have to try to stay focused. But me, as a fencer, I know that about the referees. And I can see that. I recognize that happening to the referees. And a lot of times they're my friends. It's even worse. Because I'll see them make a call and I'll look at them and they'll give me a look, like – you know? 


But on the other hand, it gives me a lot of compassion for both fencers and referees. I mean, like I said, I know how it is to make mistakes. A lot of the times I'm just like, "Fine. Forget it. We'll move forward. Who cares?" 


And especially, after the bout is over, I'm a lot more prone to forgetting any disagreements that I might have with the referee. And then on the other side of things, I know that, as a referee, you're trying to understand what those athletes are trying to communicate to you. 


In a way, fencing is like interpretive dance with swords. And each person is trying to tell a story. And we're recognizing that story based on whether or not we recognize the physical vocabulary. The fencer might say, "Well, I did an attack." And the referee would say back to them, "I recognize that," or, "I don't know what you're talking about. That didn't look anything like an attack."


As a fencer, that helps me a little bit. Because if I try to do an action and the referee reflects that they didn't recognize that, I can say – I'm better at asking questions. Like, "What was that for you?" Or I'm a little better at adjusting what I'm doing on strip because I have that third-party perspective. That experience of trying to recognize actions.


[0:20:33]BW: Yeah. That's really interesting. I've heard fencers talk about how at their clubs they'll – obviously, everybody referees each other at the club level. But doing it at a national tournament I think just ramps up the benefit to you and your fencing. That's really interesting. 


As we go down your list of accomplishments, a very recent one is the 2023 Utah Sports Hall of Fame. And you talked about how one of your kind of reasons for wanting to start a club is just to build fencing in Utah. And so, what was that honor like and how did it feel to be recognized alongside other great athletes and sports figures from the state? 


[0:21:14] JS: Honestly, that was surreal and crazy. I mean, I was in inducted at the same time as Dave Rose, who's the BYU basketball coach, winningest basketball coach for Brigham Young University. And he's kind of worshiped like a god around here. And I'm a fencer. Not a basketball fan. I had no idea who he was. But everybody else, it was like, "Oh, my gosh. You're sitting next to Dave Rose." 


And then I had Ted Ligety on the other side of me. And he's a five-time world champion. A skier. Five-time world champion and two-time Olympic gold medalist. And then Stein Eriksen's son was next to him. And Stein Eriksen is the father of Utah skiing. 


I mean, it was this very distinguished class. And I was worried. I was like, "Who am I to be here?" But everyone just was so generous, and kind and welcoming. And they were fascinating. We had a video of performances. And they had a lot of my performances that they got off YouTube. And, yeah, they watched it all and they were like, "Oh, my gosh. That's so great. That fencing is so amazing. So quick and so fast." And I got to do this speech. 


And anyways, it was just lovely. And I'm the first fencer to be inducted into the Utah Sports Hall of Fame. And we will have – in the museum. They have a museum downtown. It's totally free. We're having the event in April, the NAC in April, and you'll actually literally be able to walk across the street to the Hall of Fame. 


And by that time, they want me to give them a mask, and a saber, and a glove and a lamé to put inside as one of the displays. And I encourage you guys to go over and check it out. It's actually super cool.


[0:23:05]BW: Yeah, I'll be there in Salt Lake. I'll be checking that out for sure. And I did wonder – because when you think of Utah fencing doesn't come to mind as quickly as some of the winter sports maybe. Hearing that you're the first and we hope not the last, right? Hopefully, that you've started something there.


[0:23:22] JS: You're right. Well, I hope that the next fencer that I hope gets some consideration is like Shelby Jensen. Para athlete. She's got quite a long resume. I mean, we have quite a few athletes that probably deserve some recognition. Me being the first is great. And like you said, not the last.


[0:23:42]BW: Yeah, I love that. We talked in the intro about your five children who fence. I got to know, as a parent myself, how do you balance family life with being an athlete at such a high level. 


[0:23:56] JS: I think poorly sometimes. 


[0:24:00]BW: I like the honesty. I hear you though. It's a struggle for sure.


[0:24:04] JS: Yeah. I heard a saying once, which is, "You can have it all, but probably not in the next half hour." 


[0:24:10]BW: Right. That's great. 


[0:24:11] JS: And I think that's right. Thank God for my mother-in-law. If it wasn't for her, I don't know if any of my kids would have been potty trained or if they would have learned how to read. It's not really my skill set exactly. She jumped in there and helped me a lot. And my husband is like, for sure, Rich is the wind beneath my wings. He's like always there. 


We're at the club most days of the week. Running the club. Doing all those activities. And he is helping to make sure we have dinner. I mean, of course, we're like crock-pot professionals here. And all of my kids have done either homeschool or online school, so that their schooling can happen along with our travel and with fencing schedules. 


But I think that the big biggest thing to remember is that you can achieve all things. You can accomplish them all if you're willing to have the patience to do it. And the more fires you light, the longer it's going to take for all those things to come to successful fruition. But they will get there. You just have to have faith that eventually it will work out. Eventually, you'll get what you want. You just have to know. Decide what you want. Write it down. Work for it every day.


[0:25:31]BW: And so, will some members of that family squad, your cheering section, will they be in Daytona Beach at Vet World to cheer you on there? 


[0:25:41] JS: Yes. My husband will be there. My oldest daughter, Grace, will be there. My son-in-law, JJ, will be there. Then my other two older kids, my son and my daughter who's 15, they're going to have to stay home and take care of the dogs and the younger two kids. I'm like lucky that the kids are to a place now where they can help me a little bit more.


[0:26:03]BW: That's the dream. I'm waiting for my oldest to be able to babysit. I got to say that.


[0:26:07] JS: I know. It does happen. And then your life comes back.


[0:26:10]BW: Yes. Yes. I brought up Vet World not just to ask who's going to be cheering you on. And I'll be one of them cheering you on. But how are you preparing for this competition that's coming up pretty close? 


[0:26:21] JS: I wrote a list down. Because I was thinking, "How am I preparing?" I think I've been preparing the whole time. I've been weightlifting quite a bit. I've been really trying to add more mass for the sake of just being able to – like I said, before veteran fencing happens closer, a lot of the time. If you just have the muscle to be able to manipulate the blade and control the action up close, that makes a huge difference. 


I've been watching a lot of video of myself. And I've been looking at the list of competitors. Both the people that were there last year and then people that are going to be there this year. And finding videos to just kind of get an idea. I'm not really – it's not like I'm really making a journal where I'm specifically putting actions down to use against people, but more so that I can have a mental picture of what the tournament is going to be like so that I can emotionally be in the right place when I get there. 


I watch them and then I do a lot of breathing and visualization. I'm really mentally going through the steps. I'm at the convention center or wherever we're going to be. They all kind of look the same in my mind.


[0:27:36]BW: That's fair. 


[0:27:36] JS: I'm at the venue. 


[0:27:37]BW: That's fair. 


[0:27:39] JS: I'm at the venue and I'm imagining walking into the venue and putting my bag down and saying hi to people. Changing into my stuff. Feeling nervous. Feeling like I'm going to vomit, like I always do before every competition. Doing some warm-ups. And then I have really gone over my mind the moment of the first bout. And I think that's the hardest part of the competition. The very first bout, when you step up to the guard line and you look at this referee and hope that referee is going to see what you're doing. And what is my first movement off of the line? And what is my first movement going to be every time I move off the line? What's my mindset going to be? What's my strategy there? 


And then like I said before, I've been working on my nutrition. Making sure I have really high protein intake. And then the last thing that I think is really important is along with that visualization of what am I about to do? What will I do? 


I also have kind of a polar opposite, which is where is my foundation of serenity. How do I find a place where it's just quiet, and I can focus, and I can ground and be ready to move away any difficulties I might be having? Clear space and then be ready to do it again. Because if you don't have a place of calmness to start from, then you're already competing against all of these other distractions. The first thing to do is move everything out of the way so that you have a clean mental desk, I guess, to create what you're about to do.


[0:29:24]BW: I like that. That's really brilliant. And that's some good advice for people who have been fencing for a long time. I'm wondering if you have any parting wisdom, I guess we could call it, for someone who's just starting out in fencing? And one thing I love about fencing, I should say, is that you can be a new fencer at age 6, 7, 8. Or you can be a new fencer at age 60 or 70, right? It's truly a lifelong sport. But what advice do you have to someone who's just picking up the blade for the first time? 


[0:29:56] JS: I think three things are really important. Number one, dress for success. Be equipped. I know that fencing equipment is an expense. But you can get a full set for around $600. You can get everything. And it's worth it. Go out and get things you need. Make sure they fit. Make sure you like them. It should feel like a Superman suit. 


When you put on your fencing equipment, you should feel like a superhero. It should fit in a way that makes you happy. Find the right shoes. Find the right weapon. So that when you're holding it, it makes you feel capable. I can't say enough about just being appropriately equipped. I tell that to my students all the time. It's one of the single most important things you can do for yourself. 


Number two, value every bout. Don't overlook bouts. Don't feel like you're wasting your time with bouts. You can fence somebody and they can kill you 5-0 or you can kill them 5-0. It doesn't matter. I always think it's so crazy that people value doing footwork on a bag or a target. A stationary target that doesn't think or move. But sometimes they don't value fencing with a thinking person. And even though that person might do crazy things. 


I've been fencing for 30 years now, and the craziest thing – if somebody does something crazy, I'm always quite delighted. I'm always like, "Oh, okay. That's cool. I'll try doing stuff. That's a nice challenge. Something I haven't seen before. Value every bout. 


And then fence para, because – if you have the opportunity, fence para. Because it really forces you to isolate your hand and to concentrate on the tactical wheel just with your hand. It's so valuable and it makes you stronger, faster. Oh, it's just so amazing. If you have the opportunity, fence some para fencing. 


But veterans – veterans are the best. Because if you beat them, they're so nice about it. You beat them and they're like, "Oh, that was so great. And I loved it. You're so fast. That's so fantastic." And if you lose to them, they're like, "Oh, I caught you with my double disengage. Let me show you how I did that." And then they literally give you like a micro lesson on strip. And then they'll say, "Do you want to try it a couple times on me?" And then they'll let you try it. They'll give you like a free lesson. 


[0:32:32]BW: That's unique to vets, for sure, right? 


[0:32:34] JS: And then when you're at a competition, because you've just had that interaction with them, they'll see you on strip. They'll stop and cheerlead you. They really value the community. Stick close to those veterans. 


And as I was coming up, I – Jujie, Luan is an example of a veteran. She's an Olympic gold medalist. It's either '84 or '88. And she's a coach for Canada. But she's an example of a veteran. When I was Div 1 fencer, that just really taught me a lot and was so generous with her information. Those three things. Equipment, value every bouting opportunity and learn from veterans and para fencers.


[0:33:16]BW: That's great advice. And that's a great place to leave it. Thank you so much, Julie Seal, for taking some time to chat with us. And we're excited to cheer you and your teammates on at Vet Worlds in Daytona Beach, October 11th. Come on down if you're anywhere near Daytona Beach. Make the trip down and cheer on these great vets at the Ocean Center there in Daytona Beach. Good luck at that tournament and beyond.


[0:33:40] JS: Thank you. Thanks for the interview, Brian.




[0:33:44]BW: Thanks for listening to First to 15, the official podcast of USA Fencing. We'll be back with our next conversation in a couple of weeks. In the meantime, you can stay up to date on all the latest fencing news by following us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. And if you like this podcast, please help us grow and reach more people by leaving us a rating or a review. Until next time, I'm Bryan Wendell. And I hope to see you real soon out on the strip. Bye.