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Thread: Fencing

  1. #196
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    Stro: Colonel Brownlee



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    Gene Ching
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  2. #197
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    social distancing with swords

    Fencing, with built-in social distancing, proves ideal sport for coronavirus pandemic
    By Allison Ward
    The Columbus Dispatch
    Posted Jul 20, 2020 at 11:48 AM
    Fencers say that the sport might be the ideal activity to do right now as it promotes social distancing.

    Like many kids, summer looks a lot different this year for siblings Eleanor and Gavin McClung, who are not allowed to visit public pools, attend large gatherings of friends or go on vacation far from home.

    Fortunately, the Upper Arlington sister and brother, 8 and 14 respectively, still have at least one extracurricular activity their parents find safe: fencing.

    Masks and gloves are already standard equipment for the sport and some competitors now double up on masks, wearing a cotton one underneath the mesh fencing one, which does not have the same protective effect against COVID-19.

    And social distancing? That’s less of a problem for athletes carrying nearly 4-foot-long sabers, epees and foils with the goal of stabbing anyone who comes near them.

    “Innately, it’s a little safer,” said the kids’ mother, Becky McClung. “You’re not in each others’ faces all the time and there are those natural barriers.”

    In fact, fencing might be one of the safest sports right now, a perk that many clubs across central Ohio and nationwide have touted on social media in recent weeks as they’ve welcomed students back since reopening.

    “Fencers try to keep away from each other,” said Stan Prilutsky, head coach at Columbus Fencing & Fitness in Dublin, where the McClungs take lessons. “If you get too close, you’re in trouble.”

    Even though the sport boasts built-in barriers to deter the spread of COVID-19 — including that it only involves two athletes — Isabel Alvarez has reopened Profencing in Lewis Center cautiously, following protocols recommended by USA Fencing, the sport’s governing body.

    “I have an immune deficiency problem,” she said. “Staying in business, staying well and not getting sick, has been a big effort.”

    Finances became extremely tight after nonessential businesses were shut down in the spring, and a slow rebound since it reopened for private lessons has put the academy in jeopardy of shutting its doors for good, Alvarez said. A small Paycheck Protection Program loan and some generous parents who continued paying their children’s fees even when the business was closed have helped her weather the storm so far, she said.

    Anyone entering Alvarez’s building is asked to wear a cotton mask, even while fencing, and students aren’t allowed to store their equipment at the facility. She’s taught students how to sanitize their suits — something they should do anyway — and they’ve done away with ceremonial handshakes, following USA Fencing rule changes.

    So far, Alvarez said she is only seeing about half her regular students, and many of her summer camps with community centers have been canceled. However, she is still doing a few small camps, starting this month. She hopes to begin offering introductory classes for new students and small-group sessions soon.

    “It’s safe to do fencing, and it’s good because the kids need an activity,” Alvarez said. “It challenges the mind and body.”

    One of her students, Elise Lemasters of Delaware, who generally prefers bouts with friends and at tournaments, couldn’t wait for her first private class with Alvarez upon returning to the club.

    “In the car, I told my dad how excited I was, and I typically don’t like having lessons, but I was looking forward to it,” said the 12-year-old, who is the No. 1 female fencer in Ohio under 13.

    Parents at Profencing shared that excitement. Heather Besselman, a mom of four, said she and her two sons who fence, especially 10-year-old Noah, were thrilled when Profencing opened again.

    “Noah needed activity,” said Besselman, of Delaware. “It was time, and they’re taking precautions all across the board.”

    Her children still haven’t been many places, but she feels they’re safe fencing.

    “They’re fully geared up and the chance of saliva going through their mask then through another mask and onto their opponent is slim,” she said.

    While wearing two masks is “weird,” Noah said, it’s now “normal.”

    Normal is what many of Prilutsky’s students have craved these past few months. About 75% of his 150 or so students are back taking regular private lessons.

    While he acknowledged he and other instructors saw some benefits to teaching virtual lessons on Zoom — which focused on technique and footwork — he’s glad to have students back in his 8,000 square-foot facility that boasts 19 fencing strips.

    “One student was crying after her first bout because she was so excited to be back,” Prilutsky said. “There’s been an emotional response to getting back to the sport we love.”

    Gavin McClung admits he was a bit nervous to come back as he felt out of shape after two months away from the club. But it didn’t take long to fall into a rhythm with familiar faces around him.

    “I’ve been excited, too,” the teen said. “There are a lot of people here I haven’t seen in a while.”

    award@dispatch.com

    @AllisonAWard
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  3. #198
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    Burbank International Film Festival

    STRO: THE MICHAEL D'ASARO STORY
    FILMS, SUNDAY | FORIEGN FILMS & DOCUMENTARIES
    1H 27MIN



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    Available on 9/13/2020

    Michael D'Asaro taught about life through the medium of fencing

    Micheal D'Asaro lived a life completely intertwined with the sport of fencing. It provided an avenue for him to escape the poverty of Brooklyn's Redhook district through a fencing scholarship to NYU. He became one of the dominant fencers of his era after coming under the tutelage of a fierce Hungarian Instructor by the name of Csaba Elthes. He made a name for himself internationally as well, fencing against the greats like Nazlimov and Pawlowsky. But D'Asaro always marched to his own beat which brought him into conflict with the governing body of American Fencers. He left the sport as a competitor when he wouldn't compromise to suit what he consider old fashioned codes of behavior. He returned to the sport as a coach in San Francisco purely by happenstance when he was hired to be the new head coach at the Halberstadt Fencer's Club. The only problem was, he had never been formally taught how to coach fencing. But, he taught himself to coach, quickly excelling to the top ranks of United States coaches. He was hired to coach National and International Teams. He achieved his greatest success at San Jose State where he directed the women's foil team to five straight national championships. His San Jose State students formed the basis for several Olympic Squads in the seventies and eighties He cut his college career as a coach short in the mid 1980s. He was burnt out and tired of the college politics. He moved first to Oregon where he opened his own salle, but that only lasted a short while. Ultimately, he moved to Los Angeles where he continued to teach fencing. He passed away in 2001 from an inoperable brain tumor. D'Asaro left an indelible impression on all the people he met. The lessons he passed on are still used today by his students, in fencing as well as in life.
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  4. #199
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    Our newest interview - Free from KungFuMagazine.com

    Gene Ching
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