When two thousand fencers descend on Austin starting June 30 for the National Fencing Championships, they had better be on guard if facing two of the city’s—and the nation’s—best swordsmen. Some will parry with 23-year-old April Alford, the best female senior-level foil fencer in Texas. Others will lunge at 57-year-old Ray Sexton, who last year became the Veterans World Sabre Champion—a first for any U.S. competitor. After they take their stab at the nationals this month, Alford will compete in the Olympic trials, held July 7 in Austin, and Sexton will defend his world championship title next August in Hungary. Despite the difference in their ages and classification, there’s still friendly competition between the two. Alford has recently beaten some of the best men in the state, though she lost to Sexton the last time they dueled. “That was about a year ago,” he says with a laugh. “I don’t think I could beat her anymore.”