Translated by Leonard Sulima-uligowski
from Australian Article on Marion Sypniewski (in Polish)
MARION SYPNIEWSKI (1955- )was born April 4, 1955, in the city of Bydgoszcz/Bromberg. Marion was on the Polish Olympic Fencing Team. Marion is 6 feet tall and weighed 141 pounds. He was a member of the Bydgoszcz Club, the star of the Army Sports Athletic Club, Warsaw League, and was their standard bearer and staff officer in the Frontier Guards. He was a two-time Olympic Bronze Medalist, in foil:
Marion Sypniewski was World Champion Fencing Team Member, in 1979, in Hamburg, Germany. He was known as the "Polish D'Artagnan." He was a specialist in the foil and was also skilled with the rapier, but seldom does saber.
Marion Sypniewski is a man of strong physique and stamina. He has always been known to come back from difficult situations, and always maintained a magnificent composure to the end. He was fleet of foot and was known to leap forward with great gusto, although nervous before matches. Students of the art of fencing all agree that Marion's discipline to his art was without question.
His black hair and friendly smile added to the picture, as his blade was wielded with such skill as to make it seem alive. You could easily imagine him in an Alexandre Dumas novel fighting alongside his famous muskateers. His strong resolve to place in all his duels made him a strong opponent, and he seemed to make his victories look easy, especially in Barcelona, Spain (1992).
Marion's parents are from a working class family. In his youth he was interested in many sports. Waldemar Wardalski proclaimed his talents early on. His trainers were Marek Paznanski, Andrew Gottner, Richard Bres, and Stanislaw Szymanski. From 1967-1969, Marian Sypniewski entered under the colors of the Bydgozcz Society, where he was tutored by legendary fencing master, Adam Papee. Later on he represented the Bydgoszcz Star (1969-1974). The Warsaw League sponsored him from 1974-1993.
He is also listed in the 1980 Men's team along with Adam Robak, Boguslaw Zych, Lech Koziejowski at the International Olympics in Moscow. He won an Individual Bronze Medal in 1983, and team medal in 1993 (Essen).
Marion Sypniewski is listed as six (6) feet tall and weighs in at 142lbs.
He officially ended his fencing career in 1993. He won twenty-seven (27) titles as Polish Master, and is now a referee/judge at various competitions, as well as a coach.
His wife Ursula (age 43) is an alumni of the State Farmers Association, and manages her own business. Their twin children, Anne Sypniewski and Michael Sypniewski are both teenagers.
From 1992-1996, Marion Sypniewski was a member of the Polish Fencing Masters, and was a member of the Polish Olympic Committee for the Australian event in Sydney (2000). The Polish Olympic Committee is actively engaged in discovering talented new Polish blood for their team. Marion Sypniewski is active in all aspects of his sport even today, as judge. coach, and promoter of new accomplished members to the ranks of fencers for future games. Marion is nicknamed "Maniek" by those who know him.
Fencing has been a part of the Olympic Games since 1896. There are generally ten (10) events. Six of these events are for men's teams, and four are for women's teams. Weapons consist of the foil, epee, and sabre.
Europeans tend to dominate this sport. The use of a sword as weapon of choice dates back to the bronze age. However, their swords were heavy and cumbersome, and needed well-developed arms and superior endurance to even last through a fight. They were made to penetrate heavy armor, which was also cumberstone and made swift movement near impossible . Lighter swords developed as armor was abandoned. Through the years, for ease of movement and for fighting close-quarter, the swords became thinner and sharper.
Duelling is now viewed as an art and as a sport. However, in the age before fencing was ruled illegal, it was a serious matter, as men fought for their honor or to right a wrong, either real or perceived. Duelling was so rampant for a time that many young and foolish men died early. Even in America people were known as duellists. One famous one that comes to mind was Andrew Jackson.
Much like our American West and its gunfighters, there were men who made their name as swordsmen. They were often challenged by up and coming contenders to the crown. Thus the reason that it was outlawed to keep the peace, much like our own American gunfighters. Of course, as soon as firearms came into general use this developed into duelling pistols, rather than swords. Then the sword became obsolete in all but sporting circles.
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