By Christian Kendzierski
Baltimore Fencing Center
Hours: Monday – Saturday: 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Closed Sundays
Price: Introductory classes and memberships begin at $175
Baltimore Fencing Center, with two locations in the Baltimore area, is owned and operated by Bin Lu, a head fencing coach and former member of the Chinese National and Olympic teams, as well as a Chinese National Team coach. The center offers lessons for all age groups, from beginner to advanced and hosts competitions throughout the year. The center’s membership is reasonably priced and for those just beginning, it’s a great place with a large staff of coaches and high-end facilities that make those first steps, easy. In the beginner class, equipment is included – so no need to run out and buy your own sword.
Chesapeake Fencing Club
Hours: Monday: 6 p.m. – 9:30 p.m., Wednesday: 4:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m., Thursday: 6 p.m. – 9:30 p.m., Saturday: 9 a.m.-2 p.m.
The Chesapeake Fencing Club, located in North Baltimore, has great club environment with a community feel. The club, headed-up and established by Coach Raymond Gordon Jr., offers lessons for beginners to intermediate to experts. Gordon has been fencing since his college days and locally is considered a fencing expert. Each year the club organizes its Fence-a-thon where, believe it or not, exhibitions and competitions go on from 9 p.m. until the next morning, ending at 9 a.m.
Rockville Fencing Academy
Hours: Monday: Closed, Tuesday – Thursday: 6:30 – 11 p.m., Friday: 6 – 10 p.m., Saturday: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., Sunday: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Prices: Lesson and membership prices vary
Rockville Fencing Academy is a great place for beginners or experts. They offer competitive lessons for ages “7 to 70” and have various times for Open Fencing, where members can compete on their own level with other fencers. The academy says the sport offers “many benefits, such as an aerobic workout, improved athleticism, and fast-paced mental challenge.” They also offer camps where specific techniques are explored with skill and practice development. Many of the members go on to compete in regional and national level tournaments.
Maryland Fencing Club
Hours: Open daily, with evening hours, Closed Sunday
Prices: Begin at $40 for 2 lessons with group discounts, Membership fees vary
The Maryland Fencing Club, located just north of Baltimore in Harford County, prides itself on its three fencing areas in 2,000 square foot of space. They welcome those new to the sport, advanced levels, or even those just interested. The doors are open for people who just want to see what the sport is all about and just watch a bout or two. The welcoming atmosphere is great for younger athletes and adult beginners. Head coach, owner, operator and fencing champion Greg Paye has assembled an experienced and patient staff of coaches at your disposal.
St. John's College Fencing Club
St. John’s College, located in historic Annapolis, is the perfect backdrop for this historic sport. The St. John’s College Fencing Club is open to all fencing enthusiasts, including children, adults, and students who are enrolled at St. John’s. The club is active all-year-round so during the chillier months expect to see them up and running. They meet and practice in St. John’s Iglehart Hall and offer instruction, too.
Christian Kendzierski spends most of his time as a media specialist at Mount St. Mary’s University in Maryland. He also works as a freelance writer and lives in Baltimore. See what’s going in Christian’s world by following him on Twitter @ck1media.