78.5 F
Charlotte Amalie
Monday, December 4, 2023


The Blades Fencing Club is hosting a "show-and-tell" open house from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on
Saturday, March 27, to give youngsters and adults the opportunity to find out what the sport of swordplay is all about.
The activities will take place at the Blades' regular practice site, the clubhouse on the University of the Virgin Islands golf course. Alternating every half hour from 1 to 3 p.m., club members will demonstrate fencing moves and coaches will conduct introductory mini-classes.
"We are saying to those who have never fenced, come and give it a try," Blades president Joyce Bolanos says. "It's safe, it's fun and you never know who'll decide they like it."
For those interested in getting involved in the club, no experience is necessary, Bolanos says. Fencing is a sport that's open "to ages 8 through 80," she adds.
The club was founded five years ago at the Lutheran Parish School by Bolanos, whose son was then a student there. After the school closed, the youngsters wanted to continue fencing, so they practiced Saturdays in the gazebo at Emancipation Garden for the next year. For the last two years,
the group has practiced on the wood deck of the UVI clubhouse.
Blades members have fenced in Guadeloupe and Puerto Rico and hosted visitors from Guadeloupe for a tournament in 1996. Four of the original members remain active, Bolanos says. Those four represented the club a year ago in its first U.S. Fencing Association competition, held in the Fort
Worth suburb of Plano, Texas.
Last summer, the Blades hosted its first fencing camp, a weeklong event on St. Thomas directed by Atlanta fencing master Gene Gettler. "We are working on putting another camp together for this summer," Bolanos says.
She, Eric Pattison and Mark Hansen are the volunteer coaches of the club, a not-for-profit organization. Fencer members and parents of minors pay annual dues of $25. Fencers are responsible for acquiring their own personal gear, and the club supplies equipment used by all, such as
electronic scoring machines.
At the open house, all necessary protective gear and swords will be supplied. Those planning to participate should wear sneakers with socks and cut-offs that will allow for freedom of movement, Bolanos says.
For more information, head on out to the UVI clubhouse next Saturday between 1 and 3 p.m. Or give Bolanos a call as 777-8708.

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