The Knife - the Last Weapon You Learn (*Thanks, Leon)

By Job Abraria (Photos by Jeff McSweeney)

2013 is time to try something totally new.  En Garde!

As someone who appreciates the difference between attacking versus defending, I was very excited about experiencing fencing.  For those, like me, who aren't savvy, Fencing is a sport scored by points.  Points are awarded for hits upon the opponent.  If you watch a fencing match, it looks like series of lunging toward one another, if you were the first to attack and land your attack you will gain more points than if you were moving to defend and landed your attack.

Fencing is a great sport for the introvert.  As the sport is a blend of strategy, skill, grace, and danger, there is a clear intellectual and sexy geek bend to fencing.  Behind the sport, there are hundreds of years of honor and rules and etiquette just as there is a broad history of brutality, injury and death in its grip.  Certainly throughout history winners were judged by the participants but today winners come from rulings of judges assisted by technology.

Watching the very lively, fast and punctuated matches was less like watching basketball and more like chess.  Moves are calucualted and executed with a savant like accuracy.  That being said, I would still rather have a knife in an alleyfight.  

Born from a love of the sport and for good sportsmanship, Peoria Fencing Academy began in 2005.  The Academy is dedicated to helping each fencer reach his or her full potential.

Interestingly, fencing does indeed provide a strong degree of exercise ~ both physical and mental.  In addition to the obvious physical associated with exertion, fencing develops coordination, speed, agility, poise, self assurance, and sharpens oneís competitive edge.

Depending upon what weapon is used: Epee, Sabre, or Foil, the rules and techniques change.  Challenge and scoring is different depending upon the weapon.  Regardless, as a sport, it is different than the classical fencing.  When your life is on the line, never get involved with a Sicilian in a land battle.  But for a sport, the action does offer many positives.

I left with an extreme appreciation for participants who are passionate and dedicated to their sport.  

Headcoach Eysayed Emara brings his skill of Epee, Foil, and Sabre to students.  Highly accomplished, he holds more than 12 years of coaching experience.  Travis Cox began fencing in 2005, and immediately found his passion in the sport.  

Classes are available for all levels and ages.  Musketeers (ages 5 to 7) are held on Monday and Saturdays.   Adult and youth (8 and up) are held on various weekday evenings and Saturdays.

Fitness impact: Four stars - The workouts and warmups are definitely going to break you out in a sweat, all geared up and fighting will require a strong effort.
Learning Curve: Two stars - You have to learn.  There is a more quantitative amount of moves and combinations to learn, and then a qualitative aspect that will make your movement more or less effective.  
Social Aspect: Four stars - Friendly.  If you are looking for a thoughtful, educated sport and one that is off the mainstream, this is a great choice.
Availability/Cost: Two stars - There is much flexibility on class times.  There is a pretty intense pricing structure.  They do provide starting materials for new fencers.

The Peoria Fencing Academy can be found online at or by calling 309.693.3786.