Fencing draws participants of all ages


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Fencing has become a popular sport in Brevard County.

Viera Voice photo

Fencing is a sport that allows you to participate at any age and any fitness level.

“It’s a very physical sport that will get you in shape,” said instructor Greg Arthur, 58, of Suntree. “It’s also known as physical chess because you have to think about multiple moves ahead of time.”

“All fencers need to wear a mask. I provide the mask, the jacket and the weapon. I tell the students to bring their own glove. They can wear jeans and gym shoes.”

Arthur has been teaching fencing at the Viera Regional Community Center since 2008, where he takes novice fencers and gets them to a competitive level.

“One of my competitive fencers is 40 years old or so,” he said. “I’ve had an 81 year old in my class before. In general, however, they are mostly teenagers.”

There are three types of fencing: foil, epee and sabre.

“The foil and epee are point weapons,” said Arthur, who competes in epee. “The only way to score is with a stabbing motion. Sabre is a cavalry weapon. The target area is from the waist up. In epee, the whole body is targeted. Foil is the court weapon, just the torso, hands, arms and shoulders.”

One of his students, Sarah Drack, 14, of Indialantic, qualified for the Nationals in Columbus, Ohio in her first foil competition.

“Fencing provides new challenges no matter whom you’re going against,” she said. “It’s a mentally complex sport. You have to predict what they’re doing before they do it. You need to have quickness of thought.”

She added, “There are going to be people who are better than you. You need a lot of practice and training and an ‘I-can-do’ attitude.”

Instruction is held at the Viera Regional Community Center at 2300 Judge Fran Jamieson Way from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. each Monday and from 6 to 7 p.m. each Wednesday. At each lesson, students are given one-on-one instruction, then they fence with other class members. For information, call 321-433-4891 or go to brevardfl.gov.