Thursday, September 11, 2014

Something New

En garde!
We are not sports people. The boys have both played Upward basketball but we never did the soccer thing or T-ball or anything else that would count as an organized sport. I consider us to be a fairly active family.  We spend an ample amount of time outdoors. The boys run around the yard, often chasing each other with home-made weapons. Generally we don't go for activities that turn play into something with rules. That changed Monday night when JT attended his first fencing class.

A few years ago I played around with the idea of fencing classes for him, but couldn't find anything local, so I figured it was a lost cause. Two weeks ago our town had its first ever Renaissance Festival and we saw a group of fencers give a demonstration. The next day my mom told me about an ad in the paper for a local fencing club that was starting group lessons the following week. I contacted one of the instructors and he told me all about the club. For only $60 JT can be in a 12 week class that meets every Monday night for 1.5 hours. They provide all of the gear for no additional charge. I kept asking him to verify the price and length of the classes. I couldn't believe I would only be paying $5 per lesson. But it was true!

He told me that he is in his 80s and that fencing is a sport for any age. It's about speed and tactics, not necessarily strength. He said I should think of it as physical chess. In the years he has been involved in the sport, he has met many people. He told me that fencers are usually very interesting, sometimes a little kooky. I found that reassuring since we are definitely a LOT kooky.

and it's machine washable!
The night of the lesson, JT and I arrived 15 minutes early. He had to be fitted for his protective gear. The next student to arrive was also new to fencing. She was happy to chat with us about a huge range of topics. As the night continued, it was obvious that we had found 'our people'. One of the instructors is a retired professor of history. He told the students that he will give them a lecture on the history of swords at a subsequent lesson. For the first lesson, he split them into two groups; those who had any experience, and those who had none. They were each given a sword and spent time on footwork, technique, and safety. The instructor who taught the experienced students used to coach the fencing team at Duke University and later owned a fencing club in Chicago. He did a great job helping all of the students during the class.

It's funny how our school year started out looking so much different than what we are doing now... and it's only the fifth week of schooling. What other surprises are in store for us? If great opportunities like this one keep popping up, it's going to be an awesome year!

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