The Arsenal Foundation has helped to fund Fence Club 43, a club that delivers fencing classes for children both at its club based in Islington and within schools across London. Club regular Hugo, aged 11, tells us about it.
“I am from Sweden and Worcestershire, and now I live in Stoke Newington, so maybe that explains why I am adventurous and like trying new things. I did rock climbing and football through clubs I had joined, and then I found out about Fence Club 43. My friend Hobbs goes so he told me about it, and it sounded fun. Also I was keen to learn a new sport so I wanted to try it.
“I remember my first session really clearly because I was made to feel welcome straight away. Theo, the coach, is really nice and he made me feel relaxed, plus I already knew Hobbs and his brother. At that first session we did a bunch of fun games, which I got used to pretty quickly and play quite a lot now. Theo also taught me how to put the kit on and how to fence – the basic moves and the rules. My favourite game is probably the one where Theo will throw a cone up in the air and you have to lunge and try to catch it with your sword.
“The sessions take place on Monday and I go every week. I look forward to it because it’s good fun, and a great way to start the week. We do games at the start of the session, and after that we do fencing games, then proper fencing matches with the electronic equipment on – that’s cool. But my favourite part is the fencing games.
“Theo has definitely inspired me to continue fencing – he keeps us all going. He’s quite chilled out and he doesn’t really ever force you to do anything, but he encourages us and sort of implies that you should keep going! And he’s really helpful if you don’t understand anything.
“We know that The Arsenal Foundation has helped the club, and Theo says the money helped us to purchase more equipment. This has allowed Theo to teach fencing in more local schools and increase the profile of fencing in the community. This has had such a positive effect because children who otherwise wouldn’t have experienced fencing can now enjoy the sport as a part of their weekly routine at school.
“Fencing is great for fitness, agility, coordination – all sorts. It has helped me with my jumping ability and speed as well, because in this sport you have to run forward in short bursts – in some ways there are similarities with football and I would say fencing has helped me improve as a footballer as well.
“I think it’s important that football clubs help their local community, and it’s great that they do. We hear a lot about how much certain clubs spend on expensive players, but I think people should be talking about the clubs that do good work in a more positive way.”
For more info visit fenceclub43.com
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