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Fencing gains popularity as a sport

In this day and age of X-box and i-pads, parents are struggling to get their children out and active. One possible, yet somewhat unknown, alternative to technology is fencing.

To the uniformed eye, fencing may just look like sword fighting, which may indeed catch some gamers’ eyes, but there is much more to it than that.

“Fencing is a modern Olympic sport. You can fence with three different weapons; foil, epee and sabre. Fencing in the United States is also one of the fastest growing sports,” explains Three Rivers Fencing Club president, Brad Cellier.

Cellier’s club, which has been in business for nearly ten years, specializes in foil fencing. Mostly unknown to the casual sports fan, pitting two fencers against each other on a 14-by-2 meter strip, is athletically demanding as it gets.

“The important thing to know about fencing is it’s really fast, powerful and extremely athletic. People don’t get to see the speed of it like they might with other sports,” Cellier emphasized.

With the growing concern of childhood obesity, any athletic alternative is a viable option for parents of sedentary children. The most frequently asked question about fencing, Cellier acknowledged, is whether or not it’s safe.

“There are so few injuries. You don’t worry about somebody getting cut. That’s not a concern at all,” he explained. “You worry about somebody twisting an ankle or pulling a hamstring like any other sport.”

Worries aside, fencing—like any other sport—provides a platform for children to learn as well as to get into shape.

“Fencing teaches respect to oneself, to their opponent, to their teacher, referee and audience,” stated Iana Dakova, a head coach at Three Rivers Fencing. “Learning how to fence well directly transfers in skills useful for life.”

Beginner classes are always being offered and first timers are brought along at a comfortable pace.

Maybe it’s time to put down the controller and pick up a foil.

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