Don't think traditional fencing. Think modern fencing with pluck. Don't think movies like The Three Musketeers or Lord of the Rings. Think snapshots of a sport that require lightening speed, grace, skill and competitiveness without the gore.
"Modern fencing is like chess with muscle," says Mihail G. Kouzev, 30, vice-president, founder and head coach of the Dubai Fencing Club.
"It is an interesting sport once you master the basics. In addition, it develops dexterity and endurance; it is good for fitness," he says.
The club, which opened in 2002 to promote fencing, has more than 60 members both UAE nationals and expatriates of all ages.
"Recently, we held the UAE National Fencing Championship and UAE Fencing Open Championships at the club. The response was good and it gets better and better every year," he says.
Kouzev lists a few important facts about fencing and the club:
- Fencing is one of the only five sports that have featured in every Olympic Games since 1896.
- It is not a dangerous sport. Fencers wear protective clothing, use the right equipment and follow strict guidelines.
- Basic equipment at entry level includes gloves, a jacket, breeches, stockings, special shoes and a mask.
- There are three kinds of fencing swords - epee, foil and sabre. The essential difference is the target areas. The epee targets the entire body; the foil targets the torso; and the sabre targets the torso, arms and head.
- On average, 16-26 classes would suffice to get a fencer to participate in a bout.
- There are four levels in fencing: beginners, intermediary, advanced and masters.
- A fencing class costs Dh45 at the club and includes equipment.