En garde! Went fencing with Groupon

(That’s me in there.)

There are so many recent adventures to recap here, but I’ll start with how friend Kyle and I spent Sunday stabbing each other with swords.

A while back, I picked up Groupons for introductory fencing lessons. As with the shotgun lessons and piano lessons this fall, why not, right? I found a more-than-willing participant in Kyle. I mailed him the fencing scene from I Love You, Man. He replied with one fromĀ Princess Bride. It made us happy for our mustachioed, good-humored teacher Alexandre Ryjik — former USSR youth fencing champion, current coach of all sorts of fencing champions — referenced the latter film early in his remarks to us. Here was a talented man who understood why we were there.

There were more than 100 of us there — one-third children (excellent to run into buddy Jim bringing his daughter), two-thirds adults — to get a Groupon taste of the sport. We weren’t let down. We started with a lecture on the basics. Then we hit the floor to learn the stance and do running exercises. Advance! Retreat! Advance! Retreat! Broke a sweat.

Next, we did the real fun stuff. We donned our masks and jackets and received our foils. We spent several minutes practicing how to hit each other in the face and chest, and then we competed for a few minutes. Kyle and I came out pretty even. Last, we switched partners to fence with other Groupon people. Random lady there with her man, I didn’t mean to keep poking you where I did. You were a fast one. Awkward.

To close things out, there was a talk about swords. You can apparently learn historical swordsmanship. The sword, the rapier, the dagger, the spear, and some long stick. There was also talk of capes and cloaks. I had no idea this sport existed and would likely lose an arm competing in it. But would I like to see it in the Olympics as soon as possible? Yes.

I didn’t sign up for classes afterward because life has been pretty busy recently and Springfield, Va., is a big haul. I would recommend, though, that you sign up for the next fencing deal that comes around and try it out. If you live near a facility, the sport could be a wild way to get into serious shape. Also, the Virginia Academy of Fencing loves Christmas.

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