Physical chess, the phrase was everywhere at the USA Fencing January North American Cup this weekend. They're two contradictory words....which is why together they perfectly describe the world of fencing.

With origins in violent combat, but conducted with grace and elegance, the sport is a paradox. Equal parts mental and physical, masked competitors screaming after each point seamlessly transition to unmasked friends laughing over lunch. This contradiction descended on the Virginia Beach Convention Center over the weekend.

Over 1700 competitors were in attendance, representing 40 plus countries, including numerous Olympians and a World Champion.