Fencing: The naturally social distanced sport
The Bucks County Academy of Fencing has been part of the New Hope and surrounding communities for nearly 40 years, and they are still here!
“I started the Bucks County Academy of Fencing in New Hope in 1981. We moved to a bigger facility in 2006, now located in Lambertville – right in the backyard of our New Hope roots,” said founder and owner Mark Holbrow.
They have a second location in Hatfield, both of which are 8,000 square feet, offering ample room for fencing practice.
Fencing might be the most perfect sport for these times.
“Fencing is naturally social distanced,” says Mark. “Everybody wears their own gear (there’s no shared equipment) with full coverage during practice, and we’re wearing COVID masks beneath our fencing masks.”
Fencing strips are six-feet apart, perfectly distanced, and when you’re fencing, you are normally between six- to seven-feet apart and get into arm AND swords length only momentarily to score a touch.
Physical contact is discouraged by rule.
And it’s an individual sport, not a team sport.
“We are very comfortable and confident in what we’re doing to keep our students and coaches safe,” says co-owner and wife, Lisa Martini.
Since reopening on July 7th, the academy has modified their schedule with limited classes and size on the 4,200 square-foot floor.
“We’ve seen people coming to us from other sports, looking for safer athletic alternatives than team sports and contact sports,” said Lisa.
It’s also a great way to stay active, both in mind and body.
A bit of history: fencing is one of the nine original modern Olympic sports, part of every modern Olympic Games since 1896.
“We have a lot of adults, and even families who take up fencing together – we literally have ages 8 to 80!” said Lisa.
Fencing offers a great workout – about the same exercise level of tennis, which Mark also used to play in college.
“I like [fencing] because you get out of it what you put in,” Lisa says. “You can come in once a week and treat fencing like a gym membership and we’ve trained many fencers who are competing on the national level. It truly is a lifetime sport!”
Sign up for a Taste of Fencing to see if it’s a fit for you: three one-hour classes, all gear provided which is used for the duration of the course and taken home with you.
To register for a Taste of Fencing, call the business office at 215-862-6112 to check availability.
They accept all major credit cards over the phone.
Visit www.bcaf.com for more info and their upcoming course dates.
PHOTO CAP: Adult and teen fencers enjoying some Friday night open bouting at BCAF in Lambertville.