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The Thrill of (Fit) Fencing

When Coach Juan Ignacio Calderon announced plans for a Fit Fencing class early last year, I was on board right away, counting down the days until April 18. I needed to exercise regularly. I needed to feel better, to do something for my health that wasn’t simply a diet. And walking alone wasn’t going to cut it. It was also time to stop being afraid of getting sweaty.

I already was involved in fencing as the mom of a sabre fencer. I had worked out for a few months with my son’s class, just doing the fitness part – not fencing. Once, I endured a 20-minute sabre lesson with Coach Saul Mendoza, and I thought it would be the last time I would ever put on a fencing mask. The stench! The sweat! I figured that fencing was not for me.

Still, Fit Fencing was intriguing and convenient. The program focuses on epee as the easiest weapon to learn – it’s simple yet sophisticated. Fencing overall is a great workout for your body and your brain. However, it’s not a quick workout, you get really sweaty, and it’s a commitment.

To my surprise, I’ve found it to be loads of fun and it is never boring.

Learning epee has been nothing short of a blast. I laugh A LOT. Who laughs so much when they work out? Fit Fencing participants, that’s who. The most common descriptions of fencing are physical chess or chess with weapons. I think the best description of fencing is this: It’s a thrill ride. Remember The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror ride at Disney’s California Adventure? You race up, drop down a bit, go back up a little, drop down fast, doors close, doors open and you’re hanging in the sky. I loved that ride. It made me laugh and shriek.

For me, that’s what it’s like to fence. I laugh and shriek with excitement. I have to think quickly and make split-second decisions. But I can’t think too much. The coaches can tell when I’m overthinking things. When I am fencing, I’m not thinking about work or laundry or errands. I’m focused on what I’m doing, and having fun.

For me, the benefits of the Fit Fencing program are endless. I haven’t stuck with a sport or exercise routine this long since I was a teenager. I’ve made good friends among my classmates. I’m taking care of my physical and mental health. The improvement in my energy, coordination, flexibility, and strength is noticeable. The confidence and strategic-thinking skills most definitely have helped in my work and at home.

Perhaps most importantly, learning to fence has had a positive influence on my parenting. Fencing has given me an even greater appreciation for the activities of my fencer son and dancer daughter – for their strength, endurance, and commitment.

Fencing is a sport that’s accessible to all ages, and SDFC encourages adult “beginners.” Fit Fencing is designed for adults who want to try fencing for the first time, and for those who may have tried the sport years ago and want to find their way back to it. Check out the class from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

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