On Nov. 9 the Rohnert Park Cotati Library will host an hour-long demo and class in the sport of fencing, presented by Santa Rosa-based En Garde Fencing. The class is one of several hosted by various local library branches and the second year that En Garde is offering this to the public.
“The library called me up with the idea and put it together,” says Jim Liebich, owner of En Garde Fencing. “They had seen a demonstration at a local event and thought it would be a good idea to offer through the library. I was really pleased to do it because I love sharing fencing.”
The class covers some basic footwork and how to move like a fencer, safety rules, and how to begin a match, and then the participants gear up and can try their hand at beginning fencing. All safety equipment and gear is provided.
The classes are geared to the 7 to 12 year old age group, but really any age is invited to participate, and indeed, one mother and son both tried it together at the first demonstration given in Guerneville.
“When you look at our classes you can see that we cater to seven and up,” says Liebich. “A lot of our classes are family classes. The archery class is a family class, which is for all ages seven and up. The LED Sabre class on Tuesday nights has one for adults and one for kids, so it’s a family class. Occasionally people want to do this with their son or daughter.”
Liebich is also considering changing his Saturday youth/beginning class to a family class in which children and their parents can both participate in the sport together.
“Fencing is accessible to everybody, and I mean that literally,” says Liebich. “This is something that nearly anybody can do. It’s a lot more doable than people realize and it’s a lot of fun.”
Fencing is also not only a physical sport, but is mentally engaging as well, using a lot of strategy and tactics. It also teaches balance, coordination, agility, flexibility, strength and cardiovascular endurance.
“I try to make it as fun and easy to get into as possible,” says Liebich. “To me the goal, by doing this physical activity, is to make yourself better than you were before. If you are making an effort to improve yourself than that is something that is going to bleed over into the rest of your life and that’s an important lesson to learn for all ages, not just the kids.”
The fencing demo and class will be offered for free and will take place from 2 to 3 p.m.