Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
May 30, 2024

Athlete of the Week- Josiah Yiu

By SYDNEY TENG | February 14, 2013

Slicing his way through the competition, freshman Josiah Yiu has electrified the collegiate fencing world with precision and energy. At the Duke Invitational this past weekend, Yiu won 11 of his 14 bouts, leading the Jays in overall wins and extending his debut season record to 42-12. The News-Letter sat down with the freshman to ask him about his whirlwind season and aspirations for post-season playoffs.


N-L: Walk me through this past Saturday at the Duke Invitational, in particular your personal contribution to the close win over North Carolina.

Josiah Yiu (JY): This past Saturday at the Duke invitational, we started the day with a really tough match-up against Notre Dame, who is currently ranked #2 in the country in men’s fencing. I kind of got off to a slow start, going 1-1 against their sabre team. I tried making adjustments to my game afterwards, and swept the Wayne State and Duke teams, going 3-0 against each school. I also went 2-1 against number one Penn State, losing a close bout 5-4 to one of their fencers. However, I’d say that the most important meet of the day was against North Carolina. I went 2-1 individually, and our team came out with the overall victory by winning 15-12, which is incredibly close. In meets like these, each individual victory is so important in determining which school wins, which is why I’d like to recognize the amazing effort of each of my teammates during the meet. If we had lost just 2 of those 15 bouts that we had won, we would have failed to beat UNC. This was the first time in program history where we have beat the Tar Heels back-to-back (we beat them two weeks ago at the Philly Invitational).


N-L: Including your impressive weekend campaign, you’re now 42-12 overall as a freshman. How do you manage to continuously dominate the opposition so early in your collegiate career?

JY: I think what has contributed to my fencing this year the most is my energy. I definitely wouldn’t be 42-12 this year if I weren’t always so fired up at tournaments. I’m constantly jumping up and down and yelling and pumping my fists, and it really helps me get into this mentality where I know I want the win more than my opponent does. Another significant factor is this routine that I do before each bout. I’m a Christian, and pretty religious, so before I fence I start off by praying for a few seconds. I then jump up and down twice, and kind of do this skip towards the center of the strip to test my equipment with my opponent, and then start the bout. I’m not sure how I came up with this routine, but somehow it prepares me and focuses me.


N-L: How would you describe your personal role on the team as well as the impact of all of the freshman?

JY: As of right now, my personal role on the sabre team would be that of an anchor I guess. I usually fence the last bout of the meet against the other team’s best fencer, but I don’t think that my role is more important than any of my teammates’; all of our bouts have equal importance to me.

Another role that I have is that of a coach. Whenever I’m not fencing, I’m right next to the strip shouting advice, giving encouragement, or calling timeouts. Coaching is honestly my favorite thing to do, because I can relish in the fact that, win or lose, I was able to help my teammate in some way and be part of a team effort. It’s also an opportunity for me to continue to lose my voice while cheering (I haven’t been to a tournament where I haven’t lost my voice yelling/cheering/shouting in excitement).

As for the impact of the other freshman, I’d say that without them, there would be no JHU men’s fencing team. Without their talent and hard work, we probably wouldn’t have beaten as many schools as we have this year.


N-L: Again, for those of us that are new to the world of fencing, shed some light on the next round of competition, the MACFA Round Robin. How important is this to your season and what are your expectations going into it?

JY: The MACFA Round Robin, which will take place in the next couple weeks, is a very important tournament in determining whether or not Hopkins fencing will win its conference. So far this year, we’ve beaten all of the MACFA schools that we’ve fenced, so going into this tournament we have high hopes to go undefeated again.


N-L: Now that you’re moving past the invitational period of your season, is there anything that you’d like to change in the upcoming weeks? What have you learned so far and what, if any, adjustments do you intend to make?

JY: Now that we’ve moved past the invitational part of the season, I think what I’d like to change would be the intensity of our practices. I think this change will really help us as a team to be prepared for any schools that we will fence in the upcoming tournaments, and will help us secure yet another MACFA championship.


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