En garde: Learn the basics of swordplay with the Iowa City Fencing Center

In fencing, protective padding and gear are worn. — photo by Sylvain SECHET via Flickr Creative Commons

Assume your best fighting stance and get ready for the Iowa City Fencing Center’s (415 Highland Ave.) introductory seminar on fencing this Sunday, Feb. 1 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Although the modern sport of fencing with slender, pointed swords has been around since the 18th century, many people don’t get an opportunity to learn it.

“Fencing is definitely more of a specialized sport,” said Judy O’Donnell, the president of the Iowa City Fencing Center. “It’s a sport that most don’t necessarily have the chance to do. It can’t be found in a lot of places.”

At Sunday’s introductory course, O’Donnell promises that attendees will gain an understanding of fencing and have the chance to duel a partner by the end of the lesson.

“Although it may take some time to master, by the end of the two-hour class, people are fencing away,” said O’Donnell. “This is an introductory course to learn the basics, and we try to include a few matches by the end of it. Although it seems complicated, the rules are simple and intuitive.”

In addition to learning about the sport of fencing, attendees can also expect to get a bit of a workout at Sunday’s class.

“Fencing asks a lot from a person not only physically, but also mentally,” said O’Donnell. “Unlike running on a treadmill or other physical activities, it’s different all the time. Its always exciting and tests people in new ways each time you do it.”

Those who wish to participate must register because space in the class is limited. Registration costs $25 per person and can be done by calling the Fencing Center at 319-338-7171 or emailing Participants are encouraged to wear sneakers and clothing that allows a full range of movement. All other equipment will be provided. If you can’t make this month’s fencing class, the Iowa City Fencing Center hosts monthly introduction to fencing classes.