Parry, en garde and riposte are just some of the things students will learn about in the upcoming fencing class offered at Alvin Community College.
The college is providing the course for the first time starting in September. The course will be taught by John Trojanowski, of Dickinson, who is a certified fencing referee.
“You can pick it up at any age,” he said.
There are three forms of fencing: foil, epee and sabre. Trojanowski said the course will focus on foil.
“It’s easy once you know foil to go into epee and sabre,” he said.
In foil, the only way to score is by hitting your opponent with point in the torso, he said. If players hit each other at the same time, the player to lunge first in the exchange wins the point, unless the defender deflects the attacker's blade with their own first..
In epee and sabre, different types of swords are used along with different scoring methods.
Trojanowski said he was interested in fencing for many years before he finally decided to take up the sport in 1995. He enjoyed the sport because of the “intellectual challenge.” Players must constantly focus on their opponent and be able to react in an instant.
“It’s an individual sport,” he said. “It’s one on one. There’s a constant, ongoing mental game.”
Since then he has become certified as a referee by taking the Fencing Officials’ Commission Exam. He referees several tournaments in the area throughout the year.
There is a strong following of fencing in along the Texas Gulf Coast with 12 different fencing clubs in the Houston area alone, Trojanowski said.
Many new fencers are often concerned about the safety of the sport. Trojanowski said puncture injuries from the blades are extremely rare, with perhaps one happening every few years throughout the country.
Safety is paramount among fencing and unsportsmanlike conduct can get fencers ejected from tournaments.
“It is an extremely safe sport,” he said.
Students will learn the basics of foil in the course, which will start on September 15 and end December 1. Classes will be from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. in the ACC Gym.
Each class will consist of footwork and bladework drills, plus supervised bouts and free play. The class is open to students of all ages 12 years and older.
Foils, jackets and masks will be provided. Students are asked to bring gloves such as those used for gardening, motorcycles or general work.
Students are asked to wear t-shirts or similar; pants that cover legs and allow freedom of movement such as sweatpants, warm-ups, etc.; athletic shoes, sneakers, tennis shoes. Students are asked not to wear shorts, jeans, boots, sandals or flip-flops.
Cost for the course will be $150 for students living inside the district. There is an additional $20 charge for those living outside the district.
To learn more about how to sign up, visit www.alvincollege.edu/CEWD
or call 281-756-3729