March 2013

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live on the move En Guarde! A Foray Into Fencing By Ann Imig ���Fencing is chess at 100 miles an hour,��� explains Michael Garrison, owner and head instructor of the Madison Fencing Academy, as he led me through a rigorous warm-up of jogging, high knees, and lunges in Eagle School���s gymnasium, where the club meets for classes. Considering that even my 8-year-old tires of teaching me chess, Garrison���s description might have terrified me had there been time to consider it. Mercifully, my first fencing lesson focused less on trying to outsmart my opponent and more on getting my body and weapon working Where to Go: together���challenge enough given In addition to classes my less-than mental acuity after offered through Madison Fencing Academy for all 8 p.m. on a weeknight. Lo and levels and ages���beginner behold, I found myself suited up in a fencing jacket and helmet, through Olympic competitor��� you can also ���nd lessons advancing, retreating and stabat Cracovia School of Foil bing Garrison in the chest with a Fencing on Madison���s blunt-tipped foil (a type of fencing west side. sword) in no time. Most of us have some vague impression of fencing, likely invoking film icons dueling to the death (or to the torso in the case of ���Monty Python and the Holy Grail���). Rest assured, modern-day fencing is a non-deadly Olympic event employing three different weapons fitted with elecme from mere sideline observer to jousting tronic tips, a scoring aid to detect touches, heroine. I felt like a heroine anyway, as my and rules governed by an international feet learned to advance and retreat seemfederation. ingly on their own. Keeping the correct Imagine learning to waltz, while simultahold of the foil and maintaining momenneously receiving your first sword lesson��� tum for the practice drills proved a chaland all through a Darth Vader mask���and lenge, as I tried to do everything ���right.��� you get a picture of what I experienced. The Alas, a more goal-oriented, aggressive, gear took some getting used to, especially and less...head case���of a student likely the helmet, yet Garrison quickly moved would not have needed prompting to attack his or her opponent. Despite teasing Garrison about my impending nightmares of warding off a sword-wielding masked assailant, I left feeling pretty proud of myself for trying a sport well outside my comfort zone, as well as feeling mentally and physically exhausted. Checkmate. Who will love it: Anyone into one-onone sports, and especially those with a mind for strategy and a competitive nature. That means you, racquet sports lovers, boxers, wrestlers, martial artists and even hockey players. Who should skip it: Almost no one. If you can move, you can fence! Garrison has fenced with people of all abilities, including people with hearing impairments, visual impairments and other limited abilities. 14 March 2013 BRAVA Magazine Why it���s a great workout: Garrison���s warm-up is a workout by itself. Add in a few bouts, which involve short bursts of quick and powerful movements, and you���ve done your interval cardio training for the day. What to wear: It gets hot under that helmet and jacket! So opt for cool, comfortable workout attire along with gym shoes. Photo by Sarah Maughan The Dish on Fencing

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