Humans of AMHS: Sarah Louie

Humans of AMHS aims to showcase the individual stories within the Mitty community. Featured here is Sarah Louie, a member of the class of 2023.


I first began fencing because of my brother, but my fencing journey wouldn’t develop quite like his. 

I had watched him advance rapidly in the sport, beginning to do well in tournaments only a few months in while many fencers first spend years honing their craft. Going to some of his matches, I saw how determined he and the other fencers were in everything they did—be it fencing or school. Eventually, their determination inspired me to join the fencing team, motivated to put in the same amount of effort in my every move. It would take me a while, however, to realize getting better at fencing was about more than just effort.  

Eager to excel, I threw myself at the sport. I refused to calm down and observe the opponent’s move before making an action, resulting in rash missteps. I would work hard but still struggle in tournaments, not doing nearly as well as I wanted or as I had watched my brother do. I had to step back and learn from my mistakes in past tournaments, recognizing that every action requires patience and observation. But while I was beginning to understand this, another part of my game had started to lag—my confidence. 

Though I would take time to observe and ponder my next moves, I didn’t have faith in my decisions and hesitated to commit to them. I wasn’t quick no confident enough in a sport that demanded speed and certainty to win. If you back out, you’ll get touched and lose—and I was backing out.

But as I kept working on my mindset, strengthening my deliberateness and my self-confidence, the pieces started falling into place. I remember it all coming together in this one direct elimination competition. I noticed my opponent kept lunging at me, and I took a step back instead of making an impulsive decision like I used to. As I observed my opponent, I realized she was most vulnerable when recovering from her lunge. Thus, the next time I saw her lunging in, I struck quickly and decisively, ultimately succeeding in a play. It was then that I began to learn how to balance rationality with instant commitment, and it was incredibly rewarding.  

This balance of resolution and logic changed more than just my game. I view every argument and conflict as a chance to step back from my impulse and be patient and observant,  while also trusting myself to act when the appropriate time comes.