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The North Shore Fencers Club offers great exercise and competition

Credit: Kidsday staff artist / Matthew Faraci, Sayville

Fencing is an unusual sport. I am improving my skills because I am a member of the North Shore Fencers Club.  

This sport involves a lot of footwork. For one thing, one of your feet is straight while the other foot must be behind and at a right angle, like a backward "L." If you are a lefty then it looks like a normal "L." There must be a space equal to 1.5 times the length of your shoe in between your feet. In addition to that, you have to bend your knees. This is called engarde position.

Another important thing about fencing is the weapon. There are three choices, the foil, the epee and saber. The smallest is the foil. It has a thin, rectangular blade and a small, disk-shaped guard, which is what protects the hand from getting hit. The rule for a foil is you can hit only the torso, crotch and back.

The epee’s target is anywhere on the body including head, arms, legs, torso and crotch. This weapon is the middle-sized weapon, with a medium guard, blade and grip. The epee and the foil can have a pistol grip.

The final weapon is the saber. This is the largest weapon. Unlike the others, it has a guard over the grip that is shaped like an arch. This is the reason why a saber can’t have a pistol grip. This weapon’s target is anywhere on or above the waist. This has a slightly wider blade than the others.

The basic fencing moves are advance, retreat and jump forward or backward. Advance is taking a step in engarde position. Retreat is taking a step back in engarde position. Jump forward is the same thing as advance but you jump forward. Jump back is the same thing as retreat but you jump back. Those are the basic fencing moves. There are a lot more moves. They include lunge, flèche, parry, disengage, counterattack and half step forward or backward. If you join the North Shore Fencers Club you will learn all of this eventually.

Fencing is an unusual sport, but is a sport worth trying. You will not be disappointed. Engarde! 

Info: North Shore Fencers Club, 240 Community Dr., Great Neck, northshorefc.com  

Christine Arthur’s fifth-grade class, Bayville Intermediate School

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