Batavia Park District Holds First Fencing Tournament

Tue October 15, 2019

Batavia, IL- After 15 years of offering fencing to Batavia residents, the Park District will hold its first regional tournament on Saturday, October 26, at 6 pm, located at the Eastside Community Center, 14 N. Van Buren Street.  Fencers from a number of suburban locations will test their skills against others of the same age size skill levels for trophies.

Often described as “physical chess”, fencers strategize to stay ahead of an opponent using body and explosive moves. It is one of the four oldest Olympic sports and requires emotional and physical control, mental flexibility, and split-second cunning.

The Batavia Park District offers this sport with Fencing Sports Club (FSC).  FSC teacher, Tracy Lapshin, said: “Students really enjoy fencing because their bouts resemble a cat and mouse game, outthinking their opponent with fast movements.”   

She added, “There is no ‘fighting’ with swords, no swashbuckling moves like we see in movies. It’s more like a conversation between two opponents.”

Brendan, who fences in a southern suburb, stated, “I've been fencing for about five years now, and it really has changed my life. It's taught me sportsmanship, and the benefits of hard work. I've have made so many great friends while fencing, and I hope to continue with it for the rest of my life.’

Fencing provides a cardiovascular workout, involving aerobic endurance, enhanced flexibility, and development of upper and lower body strength.  Children as young as eight can learn the sport.  Many students continue competing in higher education and older venues. Adults participating in the Park District programs are either new fencers or those who dust off the equipment after establishing careers. 

Jackie, now training to be a teaching assistant, shares “Not many sports have the long-lasting benefits, both mental and physical, of fencing. It has built up my strength a great deal but has also increased my agility and flexibility. Mentally, it has encouraged my brain to pursue more challenging problems. The quick judgments that are involved in fencing have really enhanced my perception of every minute movement.”

According to Lapshin, fencing is a great way for kids of all ages to learn self-control and strategic thinking while having fun. 

The public is invited to watch the tournament or reach out to the Recreation Department to learn more about the fencing program.