Swords equip their bearers with the most honorable way to enact 15th-century vengeance on an ornery houseplant or change the channel when someone loses the remote. Take up arms against commercial interruptions with today’s Groupon: for $52, you get six weekly fencing lessons at Blackstone Valley Fencing Academy in Woonsocket (a $105 value).
Now in their 10th year of dueling instruction, U.S. Fencing Association–certified coaches Michael and Anne Olson invite local squires to apprentice under the blade at their 3,500-square-foot sword school. At Blackstone Valley Fencing Academy, students ranked amateur through Arthurian clash in a safe and controlled environment over the course of six weekly classes. Beginning swordspersons are required to take the intro to fencing class, while experienced participants can wield their choice of foil, épée, or slashing saber as they parry and riposte across the academy’s four regulation-length electric-fencing strips. Sessions are divided by age for jousters as young as 7, and you can check the class schedule here. Participants should wear an embroidered gambeson and burnished chain mail, or at least court shoes and comfortable long pants.
Fencing pushes participants to their mental and physical peak with its combination of cardio-conditioning footwork, tactical warrior thinking, and lexicon of French words that can’t be learned from a menu. Michael and Anne train fencers for both recreation and competition, and boast a roster of successful alums with Junior Olympics and Summer Nationals experience.