By Susana Bonis
In the San Gabriel Valley, opportunities abound for youth sports like soccer, baseball, basketball, and volleyball. The West Coast Fencing Academy in Monrovia is ready to introduce youth to the fascinating sport of sabre fencing.
Fencing is the martial art of fighting with blades; there are three types: sabre, foil, and épée. It is an elegant sport that simultaneously combines speed, accuracy, and strategy. For these reasons, it is often described as “physical chess.” It is a sport highly valued by colleges. More than 30 top tier colleges in the United States have a National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) fencing team; more than 100 other colleges do as well. Competitive fencing is one of only five sports that have been featured in every one of the modern Olympic Games since 1896, alongside track and field, cycling, swimming, and gymnastics.
West Coast Fencing Academy is led by Nikolay Kovalev—a bronze medalist in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, a gold medalist in the 2014 World Championships, a four-time World team champion, and a five-time European team champion. His goal is to develop competitive fencers at West Coast Fencing Academy. Students attend from across the San Gabriel Valley. The club even draws students from as far away as San Diego.
On February 25, the West Coast Fencing Academy held its first tournament. Seventy-nine youth ages 8 to 14 from fencing clubs across the region participated. Fencers from West Coast Fencing Academy had a strong performance. Top finishers included Anneliesse Alcalde (first place in Y14), Joshua Li (second place in Y14), and Nathan Leung (second place in Y12). These youth are the best to speak about the sport of fencing and about West Coast Fencing Academy.
Anneliese is a freshman at South Pasadena High School. Asked why she likes fencing, she was quick to respond that “I love the rush of the game. It is fun and entertaining.” Her goal is to reach the Olympics. She credits fencing with helping her to increase her confidence. The coaches at West Coast have been instrumental in her development. “The coaches never give up on you and help you to grow more as a fencer.” Twelve-year old Nathan attends Huntington Middle School in San Marino. He has been fencing competitively for two years and he recommends fencing because it’s fun and fast-paced. “It’s so fast, that it gets you energized,” he added. He also enjoys the camaraderie at West Coast Fencing Academy.
West Coast Fencing Academy offers group classes for youth ages 6 to 18, and private lessons for youth and adults Monday through Saturday. Open fencing opportunities, as well as seasonal camps, are also offered. Youth and adults of all ages and skill levels are welcome. Another beauty of fencing is that it is a life-long sport, with competitive fencing possible up until the age of 80. Please consider visiting West Coast Fencing Academy to discover for yourself the numerous advantages of sabre fencing.