With the new school year well underway, kids are picking up after-school sports again. The usual suspects are sports like basketball, soccer, track and field, tennis and more. But, parents thinking a little outside of the box for kids’ sports might consider classes in fencing (or maybe even axe-throwing and ninja skills).
Fencing is a great activity for building coordination and strength, sharpening reflexes and fostering sportsmanship. Most fencing clubs in the city accommodate everyone from beginners to pros; they usually provide all of the necessary equipment as well. (And if you’re worried about the risk of injury in a sport that uses swords, rest assured, the protective gear that students wear while fencing keeps them covered from head to toe!) So, as you look ahead to sports programs for the school year, keep your eye on these places in the city where your child can take up fencing.
229 W. 28th St., 2nd Fl.
Established in 1883, the Fencers Club holds classes for students ages 7 and up. Students must be members of USA Fencing before they can enroll in classes. Those without prior fencing experience are encouraged to begin with the “Introduction to Fencers Club Package,” which includes three private lessons. Private lessons typically last 20 minutes, and group classes last 90 minutes. The club also holds open bouting sessions and summer camps.
15 W. 37th St., 2nd Fl.
The Manhattan Fencing Center offers private lessons, group classes, open bouting, camps and tournaments. Classes are available for kids as young as age 2: “Mommy and Me” is open to 2- to 4-year-olds, and “Mini Musketeer” is suited for kids ages 4 to 6. Youth classes are open to children ages 7 to 12. Beginner classes last one hour, and intermediate and above class levels last for 1.5 hours. Private lessons are one-on-one sessions with a coach for 20- or 40-minute intervals. The center also offers after-school and home-school programs.
210 W. 91st St., 2nd Fl.
The Tim Morehouse Fencing Club welcomes students ages 6 and up. New students take a 20-minute trial lesson with a coach to receive a program recommendation for their skill level. Membership in the club is required to take part in group classes and open bouting. Group classes last between 80 and 100 minutes and consist of conditioning, footwork, drills, electric bouting and more. Youth classes include children ages 6 to 11, and young adult classes include children ages 12 and up. Some classes combine all ages and skill levels, so younger and older students can fence together. Group classes typically maintain a student-to-teacher ratio of 8:1. The Tim Morehouse Fencing Club also offers private lessons, summer camps and pre-season clinics. For more information, call 317-886-8243.
Neighborhood: Upper West Side
68 Jay St., Suite #508
Founded in 2010 by Olympic fencer Dan Kellner, the Brooklyn Bridge Fencing Club offers summer camps, private and group lessons. Students with little or no fencing experience must take introductory private fencing lessons before they can enroll in group classes. These 20-minute private lessons focus on footwork, bladework and the rules and etiquette of the sport. Subsequent classes include “Mini Muskeeters” for children ages 6 to 9 and “Cadets” for children ages 10 and up. Two instructors lead each class, and classes last 80 minutes and are held three or four times each week for four weeks. Enrollment for all classes is rolling.
600 Degraw St.
Brooklyn’s oldest competitive fencing center offers beginner, intermediate and advanced classes for students ages 7 and up. Classes are divided by level of mastery and students’ age; children’s classes are for fencers ages 7 to 9, and juniors’ classes are for fencers ages 10 to 17. All classes use the foil sword, but students in private lessons have access to the épée and saber as well. The center also offers footwork and conditioning classes.
2896 W. 12th St., 2nd Fl.
The New York Fencing Academy teaches classes for students ages 6 and up. All new students must begin with introductory one-on-one lessons with a coach, where they’ll learn how to hold the weapon, make correct touches and carry out a basic fencing attack. After they’ve completed these introductory lessons, they can move on to group classes. The 90-minute beginners class teaches footwork, basic techniques, bouting tactics and more. Children younger than age 11 who have at least six months of fencing experience can enroll in the 90-minute intermediate class for kids. The academy also offers conditioning classes, a footwork class, open bouting and an after-school program.
Neighborhood: Coney Island
211 21st St., Brooklyn, NY 11232
South Brooklyn Fencing teaches fencing for kids ages 6 and up. Beginner, intermediate and advanced classes are available for kids, and each kids’ class is capped at 12 students. The fencing club also offers private lessons, summer camps, open bouting, conditioning-training classes, and a youth program for kids ages 14 and up. The full fencing year runs from September to June.
Neighborhood: South Slope
1801 First Ave.
New York Sports Club, 69-47 Austin St.
Sheridan Fencing Academy has locations in the Upper East Side and Forest Hills. The Upper East Side location offers a 45-minute class for kids ages 4 to 6, where they’ll use safe, lightweight, plastic light sabers to learn the basics. A one-hour class is also available for kids ages 7 to 9, where they’ll work on their coordination, strength and overall athleticism through games and play. Kids ages 10 and up take a two-hour class, which includes periodic assessments throughout the term to measure their progress. There is also a kids class at the academy’s Queens location.
Neighborhoods: Upper East Side in Manhattan and Forest Hills in Queens
19 Fourth St.
Founded in 1980, the Staten Island Fencing Center offers group classes, private sessions and open fencing nights for students ages 5 and up. Classes include “Mini-Musketeers,” “Youth Beginners” and “Intermediate Fencers.” Private lessons cost $20 for a 30-minute session, and open fencing is held from 8 to 10 pm on Friday nights.
Neighborhood: New Dorp