Author: NY Fencing Academy (NYFA)

fencing, IN THE NEWS

Taking a Stab at the Big Leagues Armed with an Epee


Long Island Herald
By Ronny Reyes
January 3, 2020

https://www.liherald.com/stories/taking-a-stab-at-the-big-leagues-armed-with-a-pe,121345

Like most juniors at Oyster Bay High School, Rachel Kowalsky, 17, is hard at work studying for the SATs. But unlike most of her peers, whenever she doesn’t have a pencil in hand, Kowalsky holds a sword, an épée, as she spends nearly everyday training at the New York Fencing Academy in Port Washington.

“She can’t get enough of it,” said Keith Kowalsky, Rachel’s father. “She loves it.”

Rachel first came into contact with the sport when she was in the eighth grade. Because her sister had been a star tennis player, who now competes at Brown University, Rachel’s parents wanted her to find a sport that she could excel at after seeing that Rachel wanted to compete like her sister. Although Rachel played lacrosse and tennis, she described herself as being more interested in her studies and theater. But when a family friend suggested she try fencing, Rachel found herself immediately hooked.

“It was so different from any sport I knew,” Rachel said. “It’s an intellectual game where you’re trying to figure out your opponents moves and study their reactions.”

Head coach Sergey Danilov, co-owner of the NYFA, called fencing “physical chess.” He said the sport encompassed coordination, strategy and flexibility, all of which he found Rachel mastering at a quick pace. Not only does Rachel train with Danilov, but she also heads out to the New York Fencers Club, in Manhattan a couple of nights a week to train with fencers from all over the East Coast. Rachel also competes in various tournaments all over the country, and she participated in her first international competition over the summer at the 2019 European Maccabi Games in Budapest, Hungary.

Rachel Kowalsky NYFA LI
Oyster Bay High School fencer Rachel Kowalsky took home two gold medals at the 2019 European Maccabi Games. pc: Keith Kowalsky

The EMG is held every four years and acts like a Jewish Olympics, where nations from all over the world send their best Jewish athletes to compete at a variety of sports competitions, including fencing. At the EMG, Rachel represented the U.S. and won two gold medals in the Epee’s single and team competitions. Keith said while Rachel spent most her time in Budapest with her team, he was still glad he went to cheer her on.

“I was so proud when she won and they played the national anthem with her up there,” Keith said. “Rachel worked hard and is willing to put in the hours. It shocks me how fiercely dedicated she is to the sport.”

Danilov agreed that Rachel was truly dedicated to fencing and said that she would continue to grow as an athlete. After competing in a tournament against fencers of her own caliber and coming out on top in October, Rachel was promoted to a B-rating fencer, the second highest rating. Rachel said she’s eager to compete for her A-rating in the near future, but for now, her focus is on the high school fencing season in the winter and her college applications. Like her sister, Rachel hopes to gain admission to an Ivy League university.

fencing, RESULTS

November Results: SYC to Grand Prix Golds & more


Another amazing weekend for all our fencers!

David Dodin won two medals at SYC in Chicago! Gold in Y10 and bronze in Y12! Great job David! No one managed to score more than 4 points against David in any match!
Liza Zigalo also earned two medals despite injury – bronze medal in Y12 and top 8 in Y14!
Shawn Agaon made top 8 in Y14!

Congratulations to all our medalists at NYFA cup on their way to earn the season 🏆 trophy! Remember best 4 results count and we will give amazing big trophy’s for top 3 in each age group at the last NYFA Cup! You can find your points standings at our web-site! https://fencenyfa.com/youth-challenge-points-summary/

And special huge congrats to our alumni and one of my first students Romain Cannone for showing amazing results at the first Grand Prix of the Olympic season in Bern,🇨🇭 Romka made top 16 in individuals and won gold medal in team event!

Great job everyone – keep it up!  #teamnyfa #gonyfa #nyfayouthcup #windycitysyc #youngchamps #teamfrance

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Another amazing weekend for all our fencers! David Dodin won two medals at SYC in Chicago! Gold in Y10 and bronze in Y12! Great job David! No one managed to score more than 4 points against David in any match! Liza Zigalo also earned two medals despite injury – bronze medal in Y12 and top 8 in Y14! Shawn Agaon made top 8 in Y14! Congratulations to all our medalists at NYFA cup on their way to earn season 🏆 trophy! Remember best 4 results count and we will give amazing big trophy’s for top 3 in each age group at the last NYFA Cup! You can find your points standings at our web-site! https://fencenyfa.com/youth-challenge-points-summary/ And special huge congrats to our alumni and one of my first students @romaincannone for showing amazing result at the first Grand Prix of the Olympic season in Bern,🇨🇭 Romka made top 16 in individuals and won gold medal in team event! Great job everyone – keep it up! #teamnyfa #gonyfa #nyfayouthcup #windycitysyc #youngchamps #teamfrance

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5 Boroughs High School Individual Champion – Jason Wu! Congratulations!
#teamnyfa #fencenyfa #championhighschool

 

We had very eventful weekend for our fencers that competed in France and USA!

Big congratulations to Skyler Liverant and team USA for taking gold at the Cadet World Cup in Grenoble, France! Boys were down 20-12 and managed to make a great comeback!

Also congratulations to Jaclyn Khrol and Ethan Kushnerik who made top 32 in individuals!

Meanwhile at Neil Lazar RYC/RJCC we had some wins too:

  • Isabella Chin took another gold in Juniors!
  • Emily Ostrovsky was just one touch short of taking gold in cadets! And earned C2019!
  • Finn Chimoskey took Silver in Y12!
  • Liza Zigalo took bronze in Y12 and top 8 in Y14!
  • Ian Goldfine made top 8 in cadets!

Congratulations everyone and get back to training for even better results!
#teamnyfa #fencenyfa #cadetworldcup #europeancadetcircuit #ryc #rjcc #goldmedal #teamusa

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We had very eventful weekend for our fencers that competed in France and USA! Big congratulations to Skyler Liverant @skyler0427 and team USA for taking gold at the Cadet World Cup in Grenoble, 🇫🇷! Boys were down 20-12 and managed to make a great comeback! Also congratulations to Jaclyn Khrol and Ethan Kushnerik @ethankushnerik who made top 32 in individuals! Meanwhile at Neil Lazar RYC/RJCC we had some wins too: Isabella Chin @izzychin123 took another gold in Juniors! Emily Ostrovsky @eostrovsky04 was just one touch short of taking gold in cadets! And earned C2019! Finn Chimoskey took Silver in Y12! Liza Zigalo @lizazigzag9 took bronze in Y12 and top 8 in Y14! Ian Goldfine @ian_goldfine made top 8 in cadets! Congratulations everyone and get back to training for even better results! #teamnyfa #fencenyfa #cadetworldcup #europeancadetcircuit #ryc #rjcc #goldmedal #teamusa

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What a day for Anna Temiryaev! Top 8 in cadets at November NAC – great job – two tough bouts won by 1 touch and gave a fight against Team USA member Jessica Lin for top 4! Congratulations! #teamnyfa #fencenyfa #top8 #novembernac

 

Congratulations to these two fencers! Mitchell Bekker made top 32 out of 300 fencers today in cadets and Skyler Liverant was 1 touch short of top 8! Good job guys and good luck at Juniors event! #teamnyfa #fencenyfa #teammates #novembernac

 

First medal of the NAC goes to Jaclyn Khrol! Top 8 in Juniors – just 1 touch short of top 4! Jackie will continue at Cadet event on Sunday! #teamnyfa #fencenyfa #top8 #medalist

 

Big congratulations to all our fencers competing from Y10 to college meets this weekend!

Temple Invitational over 20 colleges:

  • Anton Chmut – 1st place!
  • Sam Bekker – top 8!

“The Big One” college meet that included 14 universities:

  • Josh Shuster – 1st place!
  • Bennett Cohen – 3rd place!

Thrust RYC and ROC:

  • David Dodin – 1st place Y10!
  • Liora Profis – top 8 y10!
  • Liza Zigalo – 2nd place Y12!
  • Sasha Rakhovski – 3rd place Y12!
  • Evelyn Agaon – top 8 Y12!
  • Landon Shchur – top 8 Y12!
  • Jason Wu – 3rd place Y14!
  • Mia Smotritsky – 3rd place Y14!
  • Liza Zigalo – top 8 Y14!
  • Mitchell Bekker – top 8 Div 1A!

Good job team NYFA! #fencenyfa #teamnyfa #winners #youngchamps #ncaa #hunterfencing #sacredheartfencing #brandeisfencing

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Big congratulations to all our fencers competing from Y10 to college meets this weekend! Temple Invitational over 20 colleges: Anton Chmut – 1st place! Sam Bekker – top 8! “The Big One” college meet that included 14 universities: Josh Shuster – 1st place! Bennett Cohen – 3rd place! Thrust RYC and ROC: David Dodin – 1st place Y10! Profis Liora – top 8 y10! Liza Zigalo – 2nd place Y12! Sasha Rakhovski – 3rd place Y12! Evelyn Again – top 8 Y12! Landon Shchur – top 8 Y12! Jason Wu – 3rd place Y14! Mia Smotritsky – 3rd place Y14! Liza Zigalo – top 8 Y14! Mitchell Bekker – top 8 Div 1A! Good job team NYFA! #fencenyfa #teamnyfa #winners #youngchamps #ncaa #hunterfencing #sacredheartfencing #brandeisfencing

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BLOG, fencing

What Age Should You Start Fencing?


By Sergey Danilov

Another question I get asked very often:  Is 5 years old too early…or I am 50 – is it too late to start fencing?

YOUTH
NY Long Island Fencing
Sergey Danilov
(age 18)

Let’s start with the younger age first. I was raised in the Soviet Union and back in my time – we were not allowed to start fencing until 9-10 years old. Earlier, before me, the age to start was even 12 years old (if I remember this correctly). Why is it so? Well, equipment during that period was much less safe than now, much heavier. Fencing, requiring much focus and a lot of repetition, would be hard for someone at the age of 6-7 with all that equipment, focus and hard work. Did I mention that the question “did you have fun?” was not even a question back then? So, if you come to the sport, coaches expect you to work hard and improve on a daily basis like professionals… that, of course requires a level of focus that little guys do not have yet. On top of that, your first tournament would be sometime when you turn 14-15, not earlier.

Nowadays, people start fencing much younger. The first Cadet World Championship (under 17 yo) started in 1987. If you decided to represent your country at the World Championships, you would have to start training much earlier. Of course, shortly after, many National World Federations started to create local, National and International events for this age category and younger (for example, under 13 yo in Europe and under 14 yo in the US). And in order to be able to compete successfully in these categories, you have to start training earlier.

What about equipment? Well, problem solved – it’s the 21st century with new technologies – lighter and much safer equipment was created. Now you have much, much lighter equipment and swords which are easier to bend. The first official event is under 10 yo (Youth 10). Some local events feature even Youth 8 events but have not been official on the National level.

While at a younger age, you don’t compete as often as later on – learning fundamentals, learning how competition works, learning ethics of improving during the class, listening, cooperating with other kids and just having a great time learning – it is beneficial to start earlier. And with all the new equipment (yes, fencing now even has plastic equipment for the youngest kids, like 5-7 years old, which weigh almost nothing) kids will enjoy the classes.

TEENAGERS

Another question, parents always ask, is 14-15 years old too late? Well, here is the first question… What is your goal? If you are 15 and planning to go to the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2020, then yes – it is too late. Fencing is a unique sport, and I heard a story of a girl who started the sport at the age of 18, out of a bet with her boyfriend, and then fell in love with the sport and became an Olympic Champion. In my career, I had quite a few students starting at the age of 14 and ending up getting Athletic Scholarships at top Universities. What you have to understand – there will be a lot of losing in the beginning, while you’re catching up with the sport – you will be fencing much more experienced fencers. And it really will take hard work to catch up. But that hard work will definitely pay off.

Now, are you looking for the sport to develop your mind and body, maybe competing, maybe not? Want to try something new? Then fencing it is and it is not too late. Besides what we discussed earlier – it will help to develop strategic thinking, time management, new friends and… who knows maybe you will fall in love with the sport and will be the next Olympic Champion some years later.

ADULTS

Long Island fencing, Brooklyn fencing, epee club, Coney Island sports, NY Fencing ClubI also often hear from people who already have jobs, kids, etc. that they want to try… GREAT! I think this is the best sport for adults. While many sports require you to be fit in a certain way, fencing can be done at your own pace, at your own level of fitness. While, of course, it involves physical activity, it is also “physical chess”, where strategy and thinking is just as important as the movements. If you are looking for a low injury sport that’s interesting, fun, and will boost your level of fitness… well then this sport is for you as well.

So, you are looking for a new sport, and you are somewhere between 5 or 6 and 99+? Then FENCING will be a great sport to try…

BLOG

How Safe Is Fencing?


By Sergey Danilov

Is fencing dangerous? Does fencing hurt? These questions are frequently asked by people when they are considering fencing for their little kids. Well, as strange as it sounds – since the sport includes “hitting” each other with metal blades and so on – fencing is one of the safest sports in the world. Hard to believe?

Credit: Trifiletti / BizziAccording to research by Junge A, Engebretsen L, Mountjoy ML, Alonso JM, Renstrom PAFH, Aubry MJ, and Dvorak J (2009) from the University of Oslo, during the 2008 Olympic Summer Games, there were only five sports that had fewer injuries than fencing which were diving, synchronized swimming, rowing, kayaking, and sailing. The same study found that the most injuries occurred in soccer, followed by taekwondo, field hockey, handball, and weightlifting.  Additionally, the research illustrates that one third of all Olympic sports injuries were caused by contact with another athlete. In fencing, body contact is prohibited by the rules, and in certain situations, the athlete can be disqualified if the body contact was initiated.

Well, it is hard to believe, right? Let me explain a few things about fencing, as a lot of people imagine it to be Zorro slicing the other person’s outfit into pieces, making a “Z” on the shirt, or Musketeers who kill each other during breakfast, lunch, dinner or even during a glass of wine with their friends. Modern fencing is about scoring points with the tip of a very flexible, relatively light blade. The tip is not sharp at all which makes fencing very safe. The fencer’s body is fully covered with several layers of equipment made from Kevlar, which is the material used to make bulletproof jackets. (Of course, we did not try to shoot to test it, as we actually use fencing blades only.) The fencer’s head is fully protected with a mask that is made from metal mesh, which can withhold force much greater than the fencing blade.

There are myriad of studies you can find on the internet, and all of them depict that fencing is not considered a dangerous, risky or potentially high injury-causing sport.

Yes, injuries in fencing happen; however, they are mainly pulled or strained muscles, bruising, or sprains. With the proper training, warm-ups, stretching, etc., these injuries can all be prevented and minimized. After all, these same injuries happen while children play on the playground. As we can see, fencing has a very low risk of injury. Children, teens, and adults will find a lot of benefits as they discover the unlimited potential of the sport, such as focus, self-discipline, comradery, respect and more. These skills will help you throughout your life and will last lifelong.

NY Fencing Academy Long Island Brooklyn
Credit: Graphic by Jen Christiansen, Illustrations by MCKIBILLO; Source: Lars Engebretsen, University of Oslo