Fencing Provides Health Benefits

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COMPETITIVE SPORT: Fencing is a fun and healthy sport for all ages. Here two youngsters practice their skills at the Tulsa Fencing Club.

The Tulsa Fencing Club () was founded in 1960 and has been training fencers ever since. has competitive and non-competitive fencers; something for everyone from novice to expert. The Tulsa club is a member of the Oklahoma Division of Fencing which serves the Oklahoma and northwestern Arkansas area.

Coach David Dean, a former competitive fencer, has 25 years of fencing experience. Dean competed in épée, saber and foil in the 2002 Olympic Trials and also coordinated Olympic festivals in 1989 and 1993. Instructors Randall Hicks and Joseph Gilbert are both experienced competitive fencers. Hicks is an “A” level épéeist and rated 23rd nationally in the V-50 category. Gilbert has fenced for over 15 years in Tulsa and is ranked an “E” level épéeist.

According to Dean, fencing provides several health benefits, “A primary benefit is aerobic health because of all the muscles you use. It also offers excellent anaerobic benefits due to the start-stop nature of the sport. You have to stop in a heartbeat, then move again very quickly. It’s also a great way to improve your coordination.” The sport also improves mental conditioning because of the amount of concentration involved and quick tactical decision-making it requires. Dean says that anyone can fence, “there are no physical prerequisites. Fencing is a sport that anyone can try, work at and be good at.”

Dean’s goals for are to train fencers to fence correctly, coach competitive fencers who can go to tournaments, and create an environment so that club members enjoy the sport and have fun. “If the club grows and people enjoy fencing then it will be a success,” says Dean. He adds, “Fencing is for the whole family. We hope that parents will get involved, they can learn to fence as well. We plan to offer a parents night once a month so they can fence with their kids.”

For those interested in learning more about fencing, offers a four-week Introduction to Fencing class which includes the history of fencing, instruction about fencing weapons (foil, saber and épée), general rules, basic techniques and choosing the appropriate weapon. Beginning Fencing covers basic footwork and fundamentals (drills for attack, parry and riposte). Fencers must provide their own equipment for this class. also offers Beginning, Intermediate and Competitive Weapon-Specific Fencing.

For more information, visit tulsafencing.com.

Updated 08-27-2013

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