Aside from being the only sport with more referees than players, fencing is one of the most accessible of the aristocratic sports. Foil and parry with today's Groupon. For $22, you get one beginners class at DC Fencers Club in Silver Spring (a $45 value). Each Groupon is good for any upcoming 11 a.m. session on Saturdays that the club is not hosting a tournament; call ahead to schedule a session. All equipment is provided.
The word touché is thrown around in various nightclubs, but after fencing students learn the true meaning of the phrase—a submissive verbal acknowledgement of an opponent's strike—most sword wielders resent its utterance. Likewise, all essentials will be shared in the two-hour class, such as proper grip techniques to increase precision, or sufficient spacing to keep opponents at bay. Instructors convert tightly curled T-Rex arms to fully unfurled forward strikes. Then students recieve valuable feedback that can boost the professionalism of any poorly rotoscoped light-saber video.
DC Fencers club allows beginners to receive a veteran level of instruction from coach Ilya Lobanenkov, a U.S. Nationals bronze medalist with 16 years of legal dueling experience. As Ilya leads classes geared towards establishing proper technique, he also invites any student to mingle socially with fellow classmates in order to develop deep, personal grudges that are best settled on the fencing field.
Must be at least 13 years old.
Thirty enthusiastic fencers give DC Fencers Club 4.5 stars on Fencing.net:
- DC Fencers Club is a a [sic] particular standout among fencing clubs in the United States. Not only does it offer world class coaching and training opportunities, but also exhibits the strongest sense of camaraderie among its members, both novices and national champions. – Byron Neslund
- Janusz has created a monster of a club, from high school gym to what is now a fencing-only, dedicated venue, complete with lockers, fixed strips with machines, equipment for sale on site, regular sessions, cocahes galore, camps, competitions, and great morale. – Christina Thornblom
DC Fencers Club
At DC Fencers Club (DCFC), head coach Janusz Smolenski leads a team of athletes that molds young fencers into champions. Thanks to his formidable pedagogy, he has trained U.S. national champions. Working with Coach Smolenski, a trio of coaches brings unique backgrounds and styles to the classes. Robert Suchorski was a Polish National Junior Champion and has trained under top Polish and Russian fencing masters, and Ilya Lobanenkov to his credit owns multiple top-eight finishes in Veteran Women's U.S. Nationals, multiple "A" ratings, and a top-16 finish in a U.S. Junior Men's epee circuit event.
The DCFC facility, which has produced two full-scholarship Notre Dame fencers, boasts 10 full-size electric strips on a sprung-wood floor where fencers can lunge, parry, and riposte for hours on end without incurring injury.