Author: NY Fencing Academy (NYFA)

fencing, IN THE NEWS

Meet the Coney Island-Trained French Fencing Olympian Romain Cannone


By French Morning Staff
Thursday, July 29, 2021

Meet the Coney Island-Trained French Fencing Olympian Romain Cannone

The small group of young fencers can’t take it anymore. On July 25, in the early morning, on a bus somewhere near Storm King (NY), where they are at summer camp, they explode with joy when they see Romain Cannone become an Olympic gold medalist in Tokyo. “Since the night before, they were up until late to follow Romain. It didn’t matter if they had to get up early the next day! Romain, for us, is a legend,” smiles coach Misha Mokretsov, who runs the fencing club to which this happy contingent of 70 budding sportsmen belongs, and to which the champion belonged when he was a teenager.

This Ukrainian fencer is particularly proud of the improbable performance of the Frenchman, who went from the 47th place in the world to its top tier: it is he who gave Cannone the taste for fencing a little more than ten years ago. At the time, Canonne was only 12 years old and living in New York, where his parents had moved to open Macaron Café, a French macaron store. He then trained with Misha Mokretsov at the Brooklyn Fencing Center, where the master gives classes. He followed him in 2010 when he launched his own school, the New York Fencing Academy, near Coney Island, where most of his students live. “At first, Romain was just one of many students. He was pretty weak and skinny. He had trouble holding the blades over time and staying in guard position over the length, but he was very elastic and creative. He didn’t just do what he was told. He was able to make combinations himself based on the general direction I gave him.”

A friendship quickly developed between the coach and his young disciple, who was determined to improve. Their families became closer, and the wife of “Coach Misha” provided “moral support” to the perfectionistic and “sensitive” young man when he suffered a setback. “He wanted so much to do well and lived for fencing,” remembers the swordsman. “We did with Romain the work that any athlete must do to prepare: jogging on the Coney Island boardwalk, physical preparation through rafting, skiing. We also did some fishing. I was trying to show him respect and how to be a good person. Which he already was because, having had a French education, he was always very polite!”

It is also Misha Mokretsov who encouraged him to return to France when, at university in the United States, the future champion felt “miserable” not to be able to pursue fencing at a high level. “We came to the conclusion that he had to return to France to go all the way,” says the coach. “He could have stayed in the United States and found a job, but he would have been unhappy. He was passionate about fencing. France and its culture are better for him. In the U.S., we don’t have a very strong support system for adult fencers. Sure, he could have made the U.S. national team, but he would not have reached the level he has today. I am very proud of him. He has sacrificed so much. And besides being an outstanding fencer, he’s a great guy!”

The Frenchman’s consecration is also that of Misha Mokretsov, a former Ukrainian vice-champion and member of the junior national team. Inspired by a friend, he started fencing at age 12 and went to Saint John’s University (Queens) after winning a scholarship. In addition to making the varsity team, he began tutoring to fund his education. “I started getting results, even though I didn’t know how to coach. But because I was young, I was able to communicate my energy to my students, who saw me as a friend,” he says. “Also, I wasn’t super talented. Fencing for me is more of a science than an instinct. It allows me to dissect my movements and explain them easily to others.”

Today, Misha Mokretsov heads two schools, in Coney Island and Port Washington (Long Island), for 6-20 year olds and fencing veterans. He can boast of having trained many budding champions. But Romain Cannone’s Olympic medal is his greatest reward. He was able to speak briefly to the champion on Tuesday 27 July, interrupted constantly by the “congratulations” launched by his students in the background. Some of them have met the Frenchman, who liked to help his former club during competitions in Europe, but most have never seen him. “For us, the greatest reward is to show our cadets and juniors that they can dream even bigger. There is no American Olympic gold medalist in epee. That title is kind of held by Romain. Even though he competed under French colors, he is our fencer!”

fencing, PRESS RELEASES

For Immediate Release: Brooklyn-Trained Fencer Romain Cannone Wins Olympic Gold For France


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Misha Mokretsov, info.nyfa@gmail.com, (347) 741-1343

BROOKLYN-TRAINED FENCER WINS OLYMPIC GOLD FOR FRANCE

Brooklyn, NY (July 29, 2021) – On July 25th, first-time Olympian, Romain Cannone, won the men’s epee individual competition, earning the first gold medal for France in Tokyo, and becoming the first student from New York Fencing Academy (NYFA) to be crowned Olympic Champion. To the rest of the world, Cannone was relatively unknown, 47th world-ranked, a replacement and youngest member of the French team. To his first coach, Misha Mokretsov and his NYFA clubmates in Coney Island, Cannone was the star to watch, and as he promised to himself, he did not disappoint.

“I went into the competition telling myself, ‘don’t be disappointed in yourself, be yourself, do your game,” 24-year-old Cannone recalled. “I love to play and that’s what I did during the matches and I didn’t feel any stress because I expressed myself. I started fencing in the USA, and France has a long history of champions and a real know-how of fencing.”

Entering the Olympics with this healthy attitude, Cannone was ready to fence the 2012 Venezuelan Olympic champion, Ruben Limardo Gascon, and won the bout 15-12. Next, Cannone eliminated #7 world-ranked, Bas Verwijlen from the Netherlands with a score of 15-11. Cannone then took on the world’s #2 epee fencer, Sergey Bida from Russia, and defeated him 15-12. For the semi-final, Cannone faced Ukrainian, Igor Reizlin, to win 15-10. In the finals, Cannone challenged the #1 epeeist in the world, Gergely Siklós of Hungry, and secured the gold medal with a score of 15-10. Cannone’s incredibly confident debut performance earned France its first individual Olympic gold medal in men’s epee since 1992.

Born in France, but raised mostly in the US, Cannone picked up the epee for the first time in 2010 when he began training with coach Misha Mokretsov who had just opened his first club in Brooklyn. Eleven years later, Coach Mokretsov shared the news with pride in an online post. “One of my first students, Romain Cannone, became an Olympic Champion! Looking back at his path as an athlete starting from a small twelve year old skinny boy to this amazing fencer, I know that he deserved every little bit of this medal.” Mokretsov explained, “Romain started fencing relatively late, didn’t have his US citizenship, and couldn’t fence many events here, but what he had was a huge love and passion for the sport, a strong work ethic and sportsmanship. Everyone who knows Romain knows he is a great person besides being an amazing athlete.”

Mokretsov went on to say, “I want to congratulate Romain for the achievement that proves when you put your heart into the sport, when you make sacrifices to move to a new level, when you stay true to yourself, when you remember your roots and value people that impacted your life, you will inevitably succeed because you deserve and earn it! And no matter how many obstacles Romain had on his way he never gave up, always worked to the top of his abilities and stayed a kind, respectful and loving person.”

Mokretsov credits Cecile and Arnaud Cannone for raising their son to be “a true gentleman and the best role model there can be for any athlete.” He also thanked Coach Dima Chumak who helped train Cannone for a couple of years while in high school in Westchester and starting college in Connecticut. But when Cannone realized he had to take a big chance and move to France to try to qualify for their senior team to pursue his fencing dreams, his New York coach supported him. “It was a difficult decision for him,” Mokretsov said. “He could have stayed in the United States, given it all up, pursued his business studies and worked in New York. But no, he took the idea to the end. He was so passionate.”

Cannone was considered a promising contender for the 2024 Olympics, but no one could have predicted he would take home the gold this time around. Even Cannone seemed surprised. “I was shocked and truly happy, I didn’t know how to celebrate. I just felt this happiness and this energy. I was living the moment fully and completely and I also felt the good energy from my team.”

That energy he felt from his French team by his side in Tokyo on Sunday, was certainly multiplied on the other side of the world by his fencing family from day one, at New York Fencing Academy in Coney Island, Brooklyn, USA.

New York Fencing Academy (NYFA) was founded in 2010 in Brooklyn, NY by owner and head coach Misha Mokretsov. In 2018, NYFA opened their second location in Port Washington, Long Island, NY. NYFA is a center for excellence in epee, with one of the strongest competitive epee programs in the country. NYFA has produced National and World Champions, and has members on the USA and French national teams. NYFA provides private lessons, group classes, after school programs, and camps for students of all ages and all levels, beginners to advanced. Visit http://www.fencenyfa.com for more info.

###

Contact: Misha Mokretsov, , cell phone: (347) 741-1343
Company: New York Fencing Academy
Brooklyn: 2896 W 12th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11224, club phone: (718) 996-0426
Long Island: 8 Haven Avenue, Port Washington, NY 11050, club phone: (516) 472-7042

info.nyfa@gmail.com

www.fenceNYFA.com  

fencing, PRESS RELEASES

For Immediate Release: Brooklyn Fencer Jaclyn Khrol Top 8 in World Championship, #13 in World


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Misha Mokretsov, info.nyfa@gmail.com, (347) 741-1343

BROOKLYN FENCER JACLYN KHROL TOP 8 IN WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP, #13 IN WORLD

Brooklyn, NY (April 30, 2021) – Jaclyn Khrol (Bensonhurst, Midwood High School) competed for the first time in the Junior (under-20) World Championship in Cairo, Egypt earlier this month, and rose to 13th in the world after her top 8 result in the most prominent international competition in the sport of fencing, after the Olympic Games.

Khrol has been fencing since she was nine years old and has had consistent success from the age of 10, with countless medals at North American Cups, Summer Nationals, and Junior Olympics, as well as World Cups. But in 2019, Khrol was crushed when she was just one spot away from making the National Team. “It was very hard to keep her inspired and motivated to start training again,” said her coach, Misha Mokretsov (New York Fencing Academy, Brooklyn, NY). “Jackie was so successful from a young age, that in her mind, she would make the National Team. But when it didn’t happen, it was very shocking for her.” The next year, the story repeated and again she was one spot short. “That was so disappointing,” said Khrol, “plus COVID started and I wasn’t able to train for 8 months.” That is an extremely long time to stop training for an athlete of her level. As soon as it was allowed, they started training again and it became obvious that she had a lot of work to do to get back in shape to the level needed for major events.

Then the good news came. Khrol recalled, “I was thrilled to learn that the World Championships were happening and I finally got selected for the team!” They had a very short time to prepare, but with a sharp training plan and Khrol’s experience, the student and coach created the best momentum they could for the 2021 World Championships.

“Jackie was a little uncomfortable going to her dream event after such a long break, but what she lacked in training, we knew she could cover with her mental game, experience and strategic thinking,” said coach Mokretsov.

The day of the competition, Khrol carried out her routine and looked ready. She started off winning her first bout confidently. For the second bout, Khrol began ahead 4-1 and finished 5-3. Next, against Carmen Andrea Correa Santa from Colombia, Khrol started winning 2-0 and later in the bout received 2 touches against her before realizing that her weapon wasn’t working. That threw off Khrol’s focus and she lost the bout in priority 2-3.

Even though she tried to get back in the zone, Khrol was still affected by the last bout and lost the next two bouts to athletes from Poland and Spain. Finally, Khrol managed to regain her confidence and won one more bout, finishing the pool round at 3-3. She ranked 58th out of 113 fencers.

In direct elimination, Khrol dominated her first bout against Kamilia Abdyl-Khamitova from Kyrgyzstan, even though it ended with a close 15-13 score. Next, Khrol faced an extremely hard opponent, Kinga Zgryzniak from Poland, who ranked 7th after pools and didn’t lose a single pool bout. Khrol was behind through most of the bout, but near the end with 18 seconds left and 2 points behind, she scored a touch and got to 11-12. Mokretsov recalled, “She had 5 seconds left to catch up and managed to do it when the clock had only .007 seconds remaining! Then in overtime, she won! That was an amazing bout and it put Jackie in a strong mindset for the next bout.”

To make top 16, Khrol fenced Olexandra Lazarenko from Ukraine and built a comfortable lead from the beginning, finishing 13-8. For top 8, Khrol faced a strong athlete from Egypt, Rodaina Gaafar. Again, Khrol was leading the whole bout and never let the opponent doubt her advantage. The final score was 15-12. To make top 4, Khrol had to face another Ukrainian athlete, Anastasiia Zelentsova. Khrol started ahead and kept it up until the last 15 seconds where she had a 3 point lead. At this point. Khrol started fencing too carefully and tried to save the lead rather than fence actively to keep the pressure on the opponent. Zelentsova fought up to a 1 point deficit with 5 seconds left. The plan was to retreat and pretend to defend but instead attack when the distance got close. But under the pressure, Khrol tried defense and Zelentsova evened up the score and won in priority. Khrol said, “I’m happy I made top 8 in my first junior world championship and moved up to 13th in world rankings! I have two more years in juniors and I’m seriously focused on beating this result!”

New York Fencing Academy (NYFA) was founded in 2010 in Brooklyn, NY by owner and head coach Misha Mokretsov. In 2018, NYFA opened their second location in Port Washington, Long Island, NY. NYFA is a center for excellence in epee, with one of the strongest competitive epee programs in the country. NYFA has produced National and World Champions, and has members on the USA and French national teams. NYFA provides private lessons, group classes, after school programs, and camps for students of all ages and all levels, beginners to advanced. Visit http://www.fencenyfa.com for more info.

###

Contact: Misha Mokretsov, , cell phone: (347) 741-1343
Company: New York Fencing Academy
Brooklyn: 2896 W 12th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11224, club phone: (718) 996-0426
Long Island: 8 Haven Avenue, Port Washington, NY 11050, club phone: (516) 472-7042

info.nyfa@gmail.com

www.fenceNYFA.com  

fencing, PRESS RELEASES

For Immediate Release: World Championship Bronze Medal for New York Fencer Skyler Liverant


Brooklyn, NY (April 15, 2021) –  The World Championships is the most prominent international competition in the sport of fencing, after the Olympic Games. Only three fencers from each country qualify to participate. For 17-year-old Skyler Liverant (Kensington, Brooklyn Prospect Charter School), this was his second World Championship in the Cadet (17 and under) age group, and his experience paid off with a bronze medal finish in Cairo, Egypt last week. 

Liverant’s coach, Misha Mokretsov at New York Fencing Academy, recalls, “when Skyler competed two years ago in the World Championship in Poland, he was only 15 years old fencing against opponents two years older, and he was overwhelmed by the magnitude of the event. This time, Skyler came fully prepared and knew what to expect.”

“I felt really confident,” Liverant confirmed. “I was practicing really well and was mentally prepared. Having been there before, I knew how I needed to approach the competition to win.”  The COVID-19 protocols didn’t seem to faze him either. Athletes remained in a “bubble” from arrival at the airport and throughout the competition. “On one hand it was hard to stay in the hotel all the time” said Liverant “but I think it also helped us to focus on the competition.”

Liverant started off feeling a little nervous and tight and lost the first pool bout by one touch. After discussing his mistakes with coach Mokretsov, he took off, fencing free and easy and winning the remaining bouts in his pool. He finished the pool round 14th out of 100 athletes. 

In the direct elimination round, Liverant first faced Krystof Pohnan from Czech Republic. Liverant was flawless, leading 14-0 and he finished the bout with a double touch to make 15-1. In his bout for top 16 against Lukin Bogdan from Kazakhstan, Liverant started confidently and held his lead throughout to lock in a 15-7 win. 

For Liverant, the most significant bout of the day was for top 8 when he had to beat fellow American, Henry Lawson. “It’s always a lot of pressure to fence a teammate at an international competition, especially World Championships,” Liverant said.  Lawson was ranked third after pools, and both fencers knew each other very well. It all came down to who could change the game enough to surprise the opponent. They fenced evenly to 7-7, then Liverant built a comfortable lead and won 15-9. 

The next bout determined whether Liverant would make top 4 and earn a medal. His competitor was Markus Salm from Estonia, whom Liverant fenced and beat in the pool round. Coach Mokretsov’s main advice was to not underestimate his opponent just because he beat him in the pools. Liverant was winning 13-8 and then lost 3 touches in a row. His lead narrowed to 13-11 and his coach intervened, changing tactics to attack more aggressively so as not to give too much freedom to the opponent. Liverant succeeded, won 15-12, and earned a medal. 

To make the finals, Liverant had to fence in the semifinals against a very strong fencer, Artem Sarkisyan from Russia. Liverant started to attack early in the match which was not the right strategy. Sarkisyan was very comfortable defending and with his lead, did not need to attack. With a strong performance, Liverant ended the day with the bronze medal, adding to USA’s success at this World Championship. 

“Skyler fenced his heart out,” said coach Mokretsov. “He really deserves this medal for all his hard work over the past eight years, his dedication and love for the sport of fencing, and very importantly his personal qualities – honesty, loyalty and diligence. It’s a beautiful way to finish the cadet age level and I know it will only inspire him to achieve greater results in the future.” 

New York Fencing Academy (NYFA) was founded in 2010 in Brooklyn, NY by owner and head coach Misha Mokretsov.  In 2018, NYFA opened their second location in Port Washington, Long Island, NY.  NYFA is a center for excellence in epee, with one of the strongest competitive epee programs in the country. NYFA has produced National and World Champions, and has members on the USA and French national teams.  NYFA provides private lessons, group classes, after school programs, and camps for students of all ages and all levels, beginners to advanced. Visit www.fencenyfa.com for more info.

###

Contact: Misha Mokretsov, , cell phone: (347) 741-1343

Company: New York Fencing Academy

Brooklyn: 2896 W 12th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11224, club phone: (718) 996-0426

Long Island: 8 Haven Avenue, Port Washington, NY 11050, club phone: (516) 472-7042

info.nyfa@gmail.com

www.fenceNYFA.com  

CLUB NEWS, fencing camps

2021 Summer Sleepaway Fencing Camp Registration Open


We are thrilled to announce that our summer sleep-away fencing camps are back for 2021 and registration is open!

Here are the dates for the 3 sessions which will be held at Storm King School in Cornwall-On-Hudson, New York (just 70 miles north of NYC):

  1. JULY 16-25, 2021
  2. JULY 26-AUGUST 4, 2021
  3. AUGUST 5-14, 2021

Sign-up for all 3 sessions and receive 6 free private lessons with top college and club epee coaches!  NYFA International summer camps are ideal for fencers ages 10 & up with at least 1 year of experience. Each year we welcome fencers from around the world and across the country including world and national champions, national team members, NCAA athletes and top ranked youth fencers.

Visit our Summer Fencing Camp page for registration and all the details you need to join us for a fantastic summer of fencing and fun!

 

NYFA Summer Sleep away Fencing Camps