At Maryland Fencing Club, it's all fencing, all the time. The club's name graces a 2,000-square-foot facility dedicated to the centuries-old Olympic sport, complete with three electric strips and one for private lessons. A seven-member coaching staff—each a member of USA Fencing and certified by the US Fencing Coaches' Association—runs the show, grooming young novices and seasoned swordsmen alike to become the next vanguards of the sport.
Students enjoy focused attention as they learn the nuances of footwork and sword handling, particularly during their most formative years. Elementary-school classes are held at an 8:1 student-teacher ratio, while that number moves to 14:1 for high-school and adult classes. The coaches encourage vigorous competition, but they never do so at the expense of fun, reminding pupils to thoroughly enjoy their company and time on the piste.
With 23,000 square feet of dedicated fencing space between them, The Baltimore Fencing Center's two locations offer students plenty of room to practice lunges and polish parries. Presiding over all the action is owner and head coach Bin Lu, who once served as a member of the Chinese National and Olympic teams and as coach of the former. Today he passes along the knowledge he accumulated while competing at the highest levels to students of all experience levels—even those who have never picked up a foil or battled a level 3 mage. The center welcomes beginners of all ages through its Learn to Fence program, and routinely sends its qualified fencers to USFA National events.