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40 before 40: Fencing

This is one dream that I didn't tell anyone until a few months ago when  I made a list of 40 things I wanted to do before I am 40. Since then, people have been curious as to why I wanted to learn how to fence. I only have two reasons: first, because I think the sport is graceful and second because of the kit. Yes, I am shallow that way. Honestly, I really didn't know anything about the sport until I saw Richard Gomez fencing on national television in the '90s. Since then, I held onto the dream that one day I'll be able to fence.

Photo from

And so when I came across a fencing lesson on Groupon, I didn't think twice. £25 for 4 weeks was a bargain I thought. And although I waited for at least two months to start the course, it was well worth the wait. 

The course took place at Fighting Fit Fencing in Caledonian Road. The venue is not that hard to find as it is only about 2 minutes walk from the Caledonian Road tube station. On my first day, I was quite nervous. First of all, I didn't know anyone. And secondly, I have never played with a sword before, not even as a child. Luckily, a guy called Jed was very accommodating he made me feel comfortable as soon as I entered the door.

Fighting Fit Fencing
2 Cottage Road
Caledonian Road
London, N7
0208 368 7834

I only had one expectation on my first day of fencing class and that was to be able to wear the fencing kit that I have always dreamt of wearing. So you can imagine how disappointed I was when I saw this:

I was like, "Where is the white kit? I thought we were going to wear something like that?". I was told that I should earn it first. I didn't know if I should  be embarrassed about the whole thing or not. But at least I asked right? After all, it was one of the reasons why I took the fencing class. :)

Anyway, I was really glad that I was actually able to fence on the first night. In fact, I got really excited that I immediately asked someone to take a photo of me pretending to fight with one of my fencing classmates, Luigi. Yes this was after just one go at fencing. Call me keen. 

Four weeks went by pretty quick though. On our last night, we had the chance to be in competition with the rest of the group. By this time, we have learned enough of the basic techniques in fencing. And although there were only a few of us in the room and that we were competing amongst ourselves, I was really nervous. And of course the day before, I ran the Cardiff Half Marathon and therefore my legs were so sore. I actually had second thoughts of going but I was feeling competitive and wanted to win so I went anyway. 

And then the competition began:

We were actually put in pairs. So all in all there were 4 pairs. I must admit that my classmates were far better than I was. And although I went there aiming for the win, my fencing partner Luigi and I only came second. Not bad I suppose, considering that I was sort of disabled that night.

with Luigi

So after four weeks of basic fencing, I can apparently call myself a fencer. Well, according to our coach Jed anyway. Yes that friendly guy at the reception was indeed our coach and the owner of the club. 

And by the way, I am a foiler as I use the foil. There are two other weapons namely sabre and epee.

The mask and the foil

I am glad that I did my first ever fencing class at Fighting Fit Fencing. The atmosphere was really friendly and no one really made me feel intimidated. Jed and the rest of the group made my experience really fun and unforgettable. I went there with very little knowledge of the sport and came out confident that I can now somehow talk about it with my family and friends.

Our group with Jed (behind us). Sorry some photos are blurry.

Aside from the graceful moves and my dream to wear the proper white kit in the not so distant future, I now have more reasons to love fencing:

1. It's a fun sport
2. It's a good way to burn the calories
3. It's a good way to meet new people 
4. It's a good excuse to poke strangers
5. It gives you the experience of sword fighting (in a not so violent way)

So, if you want to learn a new sport, why not try fencing?


I might get myself the proper kit for Christmas instead, unless someone out there is kind and thoughtful enough to buy me one. :)

tintin x


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