New program exposes children to Olympic sport of fencing
By Martha Marteney - Staff Writer
South Windsor - posted Fri., Jul. 29, 2011
One of the summer's most unusual South Windsor Recreation Department's offerings was Introduction to Fencing. The four-week program provided opportunity for children ages 10 and older to become familiar with some of the basics of this Olympic sport.
“There's no brute force in this sport,” said nationally-ranked Fencing Master Marc Ganych to his students at the last night of the program. “It's all about technique.” Ganych, a Simsbury resident whose gym is located in Torrington, said he started fencing when he was 10 – to follow in the footsteps of the Three Musketeers.
In the first class, the youngsters were introduced to the footwork and body positioning used in fencing. This was followed by an introduction to the foil, which is a very light and flexible sword. The children next handled the Epee, which is a heavy dueling sword. The course series ended with instruction for the saber or cavalry sword.
“They're doing excellent for the first night of the saber,” said Ganych about his students Hunter, 12, and Tyler, 13. Throughout the evening, Ganych sought to reinforce the correct body placement and technique through correction and repetition. He was very encouraging, as the boys made significant progress in only one hour.
Tyler said the fencing class reminded him of learning to play lacrosse, in terms of thinking about one's movements, the contact and needing to respond quickly.
“If you are not using your legs,” explained Ganych, “you will always be a target,” as he showed the boys how to move forwards and backwards while attacking or defending. He showed a technique, had the boys practice with him and then with each other.
“This is not a sport for everyone,” said Ganych. He said helooks forward to continuing to offer South Windsor residents the opportunity to try the sport.
“I hope they [the Rec. department] continue it,” said Beverli Christensen, Hunter's mother. “Fencing is an Olympic sport. I'm surprised it's not taught anywhere.”
Hunter wanted to take the course because of his interest in weapons. “I like the idea that you can defend yourself easily,” he said. He had already come to understand that the sword represents an extension of his arm, not a separate weapon, per se.
For more information about the South Windsor Parks and Recreation programs, visit the website recreation.southwindsor.org or call 860-648-6355.