Fencing: Why I Play: Megumi Oishi discusses her motivations for fencing at Northwestern and goals for the future


Photo courtesy of Megumi Oishi

Freshman sabre Megumi Oishi has had a spectacular first season with the Cats and hopes to continue her impressive performances.

Kunjal Bastola, Assistant Sports Editor

Freshman sabreist Megumi Oishi only began her Northwestern fencing career in the fall, but has already proven she has what it takes to be successful on the mat. Having finished in sixth place with a medal in the junior women’s sabre category at the January North American Cup, Oishi is poised to have a stellar first season with the Wildcats and is a large part of NU’s rise in the NCAA rankings. 

The Daily spoke to Oishi about her love for fencing, why she chose Northwestern and goals she has for her future. 

“Why I Play” is a Q&A series where Wildcats discuss their love for their sports and how they got their starts. This interview has been lightly edited for brevity and clarity.

The Daily: What made you decide to pursue fencing? 

Oishi: I’ll be honest, I was not very good at any other sports, especially ball sports, but my mom, when I was around 9 years old, was very passionate about getting me into a sport. And so literally, she just put me in a summer camp, and I loved it. And the reason why I love it is because it combines both cognitive skill and physical ability. So I think you’re thinking at the same time that you’re moving, which I think is very unique to fencing.

The Daily: Why is the sabre your weapon of choice? 

Oishi: To be honest, I just started out in it. So it was just by happenstance, but I love sabre because it’s so fast. I think of myself as a very offensive person. I love being aggressive and fencing, and it just fits my personality a lot. So I love it. 

The Daily: What about Northwestern stood out to you as the place to continue your fencing career? 

Oishi: Northwestern, I think, just seemed like a very friendly and welcoming space, whereas other highly competitive colleges — even though they did offer a very strong program in terms of fencing — in terms of academics, they did seem a little bit daunting, a little bit closed off and cold. So in terms of that, Northwestern just stood out to me as a very kind, welcoming space. The coaches as well. Like during our first meeting, I could already tell that I would be very happy  here, so that’s mainly why I chose Northwestern. 

The Daily: What is your favorite fencing memory and why?

Oishi: I think my favorite fencing memory was during the 2021 summer nationals. Both me and my mom were competing, which is a really cool thing about fencing, actually, veteran fencers — so, fencers over the age of 30 — can also compete. You can compete at any age really in fencing. So my mom and I were both competing. We both got national medals. It was just really cool to see, cuz we had practiced together at the club, and we both went to the competition and we’ve done so well. It’s just really cool to see both of our hard work paying off at the same time. 

The Daily: What are some goals you have for the future? 

Oishi: I think in terms of just basic, what am I looking for in my career? I think definitely All American honors at NCAAs and hopefully help Northwestern to become a top-five university in terms of college rankings. 

Coming to Northwestern, it’s just been so great falling back in love with the sport with the help of my coaches. So I think just moving forward, I would like to enjoy the sport a lot more just as it is. And obviously moving forward as people come in and join the team. I would love to keep working with that and keep cultivating this really strong and healthy team culture that we have right now. 

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Twitter: @kunjal_bastola

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