Nassau County fencing


Port Washington Says En Garde

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By Christina Claus
April 26, 2018
Port Washington News

The red ribbon is cut at the newly opened New York Fencing Academy.

The Port Washington Chamber of Commerce welcomed New York Fencing Academy, the number one ranked fencing club in youth épée by National Fencing Club Rankings, to the town with a grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony. The fencing club’s second location on Haven Avenue, with its first in Brooklyn, was opened to offer its successful training programs for ages six and up to the Long Island fencing community.

“I’ve been looking for this space for a long time and we have a good amount of students coming from Long Island on a weekly basis,” said owner Michael Mokretsov. “It’s hard for them to go during the week days, so training only on the weekends you cannot achieve too much. Even though they were getting good results, we wanted to help them boost it a little and provide the service closer so they can train more on a weekly basis and not just on the weekends coming to Brooklyn.”

Town Clerk Wayne Wink, Marina Temiryaev, Owner and Head Coach Michael Mokretsov, Nassau County Legislator Delia Deriggi-Whitton, Fred Pollock representing Tony Durso, and President of the Chamber Mitch Schwartz

New York Fencing Academy offers introductory packages, private lessons, group classes, after-school programs, membership benefits, parties, day camps, and summer épée camps. Mokretsov explained many high schools around the area including Great Neck North and South, Manhasset and Jericho offer fencing for students, and he hopes students will be able to use the new facility for training as well.

“There is no fencing club here in Port Washington,” said Mokretsov. “We’re opening a club that never existed here. Second, we will try to work with all the high schools around so that off-season they can train. We’ll also be conducting competitions and summer camps. It’s actually the biggest épée camp in the country. It’s a great program we’re running and we hope it will be a good boost for the kids.”

Many may think that because fencing utilizes weapons, or épées, it could be harmful; however, Mokretsov explained that it is one of the safest sports because the equipment is made so that students cannot obtain weapon-related injuries. Another safe factor of fencing is that it is not a contact sport.

While fencing offers physical benefits like improving strength, coordination and agility, Mokretsov also explained that there are many mental benefits to fencing.

“It’s a strategic sport,” said Mokretsov. “It’s like a physical chess because there are so many combinations and you have to figure it out, predict their moves and figure out your strategy two, three or four moves ahead of them. It’s also working under pressure. It teaches you discipline, the same as any other sport, teaches you how to achieve goals under pressure, which is a very valuable skill when you get older. This teaches you a lot and it’s a great way of getting into a college program as well.”

New York Fencing Academy is located at 8 Haven Ave., Suite LL3, Port Washington and is open Monday through Friday from 4 to 9 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. by appointment. For more information about New York Fencing Academy, visit


World Class Fencing Comes to Port Washington

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By Luke Torrance
April 11, 2018
The Island Now

Michael Mokretsov with three of his students at a fencing event last year. (Photo courtesy of NYFA)

Michael Mokretsov loves fencing.

It began when he first tried the sport at age 12 in his hometown of Khmelnitsky, Ukraine. That love led him to a silver medal in the Ukraine National Championship, to travel to the United States to fence for St. John’s University, and then to open a fencing academy in Brooklyn and now, Port Washington.

“It is interesting to work with the kids, to share the experience and grow in a different way of perceiving fencing,” he said of coaching. “And it helped me with fencing because I had to start thinking more.”

Mokretsov said he played basketball and danced when he was younger, but was drawn to fencing by its mental component and the variety of outcomes.

“A match against one person can be completely different each time,” he said. “You have to make decisions. There is strategy. It isn’t all physical.”

For several years as a teenager, Mokretsov was a member of Ukraine’s national team, competing in tournaments around Europe and the world. He was a finalist in the European Championship team event in 2004.

In 2006, he left Ukraine for the United States, where he had received a scholarship to fence for St. John’s University.

“Many colleges have fencing scholarships,” he said. “And the scholarships are not that competitive compared to tennis or basketball since it is a niche sport.”

At St. John’s, he earned All-American honors in 2008 and served as team captain and manager.

Fencing dominated his life, and so he was unsure what to do when he graduated in 2010. The economy was in the midst of a recession and jobs were hard to find. He had already spent the previous four years volunteering as a fencing coach, so he decided to open New York Fencing Academy in Brooklyn.

“It was scary, but it became very successful,” he said. “For 14 and younger, we were rated number one in the country.”

Mokretsov’s students, many of whom he has coached since they were 9, have won medals around the world. Speaking in his empty Port Washington studio a week before it was set to open, he mentioned that he had just returned with some of his students from a world championship in Italy.

As to why he had chosen Port Washington for his second location, Mokretsov said he wanted to have another practice space closer to some of his students, and he had many in the Port Washington area.

“We have many students coming from Long Island, and it is hard for them to train at a high level if they can only come on weekends,” he said.

Students as young as 6 can join the Fencing Academy. Mokretsov said he starts off by teaching them positions and how to hold the weapon, and recommends that students take four private lessons before taking the group classes.

“For the kids, it’s fun because you get to use a weapon,” he said, and then noted that fencing was one of the safest sports to play.

Even though most of his students are younger, Mokretsov said one of his favorite things about fencing is that it is a sport you can participate in, and get better at, regardless of age and body type.

“We have tall and short, we have slow and fast, those less physically strong can defeat an opponent with strategy,” he said. “We have veterans, guys over 60, who fence. And some who are 40 can get the best results of their life because they have experience.”