Fencing is one of the unique and disciplined winter athletic programs offered at Hill House for children ages 5-12. Beginners are introduced to the rules of the sport, the parts of the foil, or the blade used, and the proper stance when in an on-guard position. Intermediate courses emphasize the importance of sportsmanship while students learn more difficult, technical attacks.
Fritz Chang, Fencing Instructor, stresses five essential rules during class. The primary policy is to have fun. Number two is to hit the opponent without getting hit yourself; and the third is safety.
“Rule number four is to not fall asleep in class,” Chang says with his dry humor. “They should remain alert, and must pay attention to what their opponent is doing. If your opponent is coming and you’re day dreaming, they’ll make a pin-cushion out of you.”
And perhaps the foremost principal Chang repeats is to not forget rules 1-4. He has a gentle, but firm method of teaching, and one can envision the smile behind his fencing mask just by the sound of his cheerful voice.
“Discipline, concentration, friendship, and exercise are things I hope they will accomplish,” says Chang, who has been fencing for over 40 years.
Chang’s exuberant presence becomes more buoyant when he describes the thrill students get when they score a touch against a difficult opponent. Some of the young Hill House fencers have gone on to compete in the national level. To learn more about the fencing program, visit www.HillHouseBoston.org or call (617) 227-5838.