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More Than Medieval Marvel

The game of physical chess



There are few sports with as rich a history as fencing. There is evidence that a form of the sport took place 5,000 years ago in ancient Egypt and Japan. Modern swordsmanship, as defined by the Europeans, began in the early 1400s when gunpowder rendered suits of armor obsolete. Skillful sword combat became more important than brute strength and fencing schools became popular in Renaissance Italy. Itinerant fencing masters soon spread their technique to England, France, and Spain. By the late 1800s, fencing was an essential part of the education of a gentleman, and when necessary he would win his honor through a game that might just end in death.

Today, fencing is one of the world’s most popular Olympic sports, with the FIE (Fédération Internationale d’Escrime) overseeing its world championships and The United States Fencing Association (USFA) administering it in America. Some of fencing’s biggest Connecticut talent are here in Fairfield, and most are training at the Fairfield Fencing Academy at the Sportsplex. Under the direction of Jim Roberts, a three-time state champion and graduate of Sacred Heart University, students as young as four and as old as 76 are learning this elegant yet intense sport. “People think this is just some medieval marvel,” explains Roberts. “But it’s a way of life and a sport that incorporates athleticism with strength and lots of brainpower.” Roberts has students who train upwards of 15 hours a week to compete in state and national championships, and those who travel on weekends around the country, and even go on to compete in the Olympics. Justin Dion, one of Fairfield Fencing Academy’s star coaches, was invited this year to the United States Olympic Fencing Training Camp in Colorado Springs.

Roberts also coaches the co-ed Fairfield High School Fencing team, which blends students from Fairfield Ludlowe High School and Fairfield Warde High School. This year, several of the team’s fencers made the state championships and took medals away from those competitions. Ludlowe Senior Alexandra Morrison is passionate about the sport she began in 6th grade. She was last year’s captain of the Fairfield High School Fencing team and was recently accepted at Haverford College, where she will be competing on their Division 3 Fencing team. Morrison often trains six to ten hours per week, and she intends to keep it up, while also studying and enjoying her college experience. “Fencing is like physical chess,” says Alexandra. “They say in fencing you are playing three people: yourself, the opponent, and the referee.”

In addition to the brains there is also the brawn needed for competitive fencing. Roberts requires strength and cardio training in all his classes, but the more competitive fencers work to build their “fast twitch” muscles, used in fencing for lunging and touching, with stations of exercises that work the muscles controlling quick reflexes and bursts of energy.

While you will find a lot of fencers also tried soccer or baseball, most devote themselves to fencing. “It’s a great individual sport, but you are still part of a team,” says Brian Robison, whose nine-year-old son Noah has been taking fencing twice a week for the past year. “It’s really challenging and I love it,” says Noah.

Madison Lee, an eighth grader at Roger Ludlowe Middle School tried fencing at camp and was hooked. “It is really a mind game,” explains Madison. “You set traps for your opponent and have to constantly adapt your strategy to your opponent’s playing.” Many of these dedicated young fencers have the Olympics in the back of their mind. Madison admits, “I do think about it!”

Parents comment on the focus, determination, coordination, and strength that fencing offers their kids. Beth Love, whose son Matthew finished 4th in the State for Men’s Epee at the Individual State Tournament this year, says an indirect benefit of her son’s fencing has been the development of better time management and organizational skills. “What parent wouldn’t love that?” says Love.

Fencing is an equal opportunity sport, in terms of gender and age. There are divisions for ages eight through seventy and men and women are allowed to compete against one another. “Fencing was created by men but perfected by women,” says Coach Roberts. He is speaking of the graceful technique women often employ, whereas male fencers usually rely on their natural aggression to win the point.

“Fencing is a true sport,” says Roberts. “It isn’t influenced by the media or  based on profits and losses. You do it purely for the love of it.”

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Cost: Members: Free; Adults: $5; Seniors & Students: $3; children 5 and under: Free.

Where:
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View map »


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Cost: Members: Free; Adults: $5; Seniors & Students: $3; children 5 and under: Free.

Where:
Fairfield Museum
370 Beach Rd
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View map »


Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

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370 Beach Road
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View map »


Website »

More information

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Where:
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900 Lafayette Blvd.
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View map »


Telephone: 120-333-25052
Contact Name: Robin Zella

More information

On June 23, the Bruce Museum in Greenwich opens Expressionism in Print: The Early Works of Richard Haas, 1957 - 64 in the Arcade Gallery. The exhibition will be on display through October 21, 2018....

Cost: Free for members; $10 for non-members; $8 for seniors and students with ID

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free and open to the public.

Where:
Pequot Library
720 Pequot Avenue
Southport, CT  06890
View map »


Sponsor: Pequot Library
Telephone: 203-259-0346
Contact Name: Pequot Library
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

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Maritime Garage Gallery
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View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
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Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

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View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: 203-801-9590
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Cost: $50; $37.50, $25, Students $10

Where:
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View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Symphony Orchestra
Telephone: 203-956-6771
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Website »

More information

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Where:
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1 Museum Dr
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Telephone: 203-413-6735
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Website »

More information

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Cost: Members and students with ID free. $10-$25

Where:
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View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 2034136735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
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More information

Show More...
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Cost: Free for members; $10 for non-members; $8 for seniors and students with ID

Where:
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View map »


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Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

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View map »


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Contact Name: Sandra Miklave, Executive Director
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Cost: Members: Free; Adults: $5; Seniors & Students: $3; children 5 and under: Free.

Where:
Fairfield Museum
370 Beach Rd
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View map »


Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
Fairfield Museum and History Center
370 Beach Road
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »


Website »

More information

The Housatonic Museum of Art presents a new exhibition, “Drip Drop, Tick Tock” by regional artist, Joseph Fucigna. The show focuses on sculptures from the on-going Plastic Fencing...

Cost: Free

Where:
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900 Lafayette Blvd.
Bridgeport, CT  06604
View map »


Telephone: 120-333-25052
Contact Name: Robin Zella

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
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View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Nadia Martinez
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
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View map »


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Website »

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Open during regular Library hours Paradise [Lost] features a collection of color photographs by Árpád Krizsán, Best in Show winner of Pequot Library's 2017 Art Show....

Cost: Free and open to the public.

Where:
Pequot Library
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Southport, CT  06890
View map »


Sponsor: Pequot Library
Telephone: 203-259-0346
Contact Name: Pequot Library
Website »

More information

ReTooled: Highlights from the Hechinger Collection, an engaging and thought-provoking look at the unexpected subject of tools, will be on view at the Bruce Museum in Greenwich, CT, from September...

Cost: Members and students with ID free. $10-$25

Where:
Bruce Museum
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Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 2034136735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

A series of graphic novel-style panels designed by illustrator Kirk Manley tells the dramatic story of the spy ring that operated between New York City, Long Island, and Fairfield during the...

Cost: Members: Free; Adults: $5; Seniors & Students: $3; children 5 and under: Free.

Where:
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View map »


Website »

More information

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In this key moment in our national history and the struggle for women’s equality and freedom of expression, the Fairfield Museum’s exhibition “Flappers: Fashion and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Fairfield Museum and History Center
370 Beach Road
Fairfield, CT  06824
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Website »

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The Housatonic Museum of Art presents a new exhibition, “Drip Drop, Tick Tock” by regional artist, Joseph Fucigna. The show focuses on sculptures from the on-going Plastic Fencing...

Cost: Free

Where:
Housantonic Community College
900 Lafayette Blvd.
Bridgeport, CT  06604
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Telephone: 120-333-25052
Contact Name: Robin Zella

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Join us while we hunt for the East Coast's best Dance Crew. Watch as crews for all ethnic backgrounds and styles of dance come together to compete for title of The Best Dance Crew! Hip Hop,...

Cost: Pre Sale $25.00 Day of Show $30.00

Where:
Wall Street Theater
Wall Street
Norwalk, CT  06850
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Sponsor: Wall Street Theater
Telephone: 877-987-8764
Contact Name: Jeanne Moore
Website »

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On June 23, the Bruce Museum in Greenwich opens Expressionism in Print: The Early Works of Richard Haas, 1957 - 64 in the Arcade Gallery. The exhibition will be on display through October 21, 2018....

Cost: Free for members; $10 for non-members; $8 for seniors and students with ID

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
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Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

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Open during regular Library hours Paradise [Lost] features a collection of color photographs by Árpád Krizsán, Best in Show winner of Pequot Library's 2017 Art Show....

Cost: Free and open to the public.

Where:
Pequot Library
720 Pequot Avenue
Southport, CT  06890
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Sponsor: Pequot Library
Telephone: 203-259-0346
Contact Name: Pequot Library
Website »

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Nature is on display in “A Reverence For Nature” with pieces that reflect the artists’ admiration of nature or the environment in a multitude of ways. Exhibiting artists include...

Cost: Free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT  06854
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Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Nadia Martinez
Website »

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Heather Gaudio Fine Artis pleased to present “Top of the Hill: New Paintings,” a solo exhibition featuring new work by Brian Rutenberg. The show will open with a reception for...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
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Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Francisco Fullana, Violin Soloist Join us for three masterpieces representing important moments in time for orchestral music.  Arvo...

Cost: $50; $37.50, $25, Students $10

Where:
Norwalk Concert Hall
125 East Avenue
NORWALK, CT  06855
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Sponsor: Norwalk Symphony Orchestra
Telephone: 203-956-6771
Contact Name: Sandra Miklave, Executive Director
Website »

More information

On August 18, 2018, the Bruce Museum will open A Continuous Thread: Navajo Weaving Traditions. This exhibition will trace the history of the Navajo weaving tradition from the earliest...

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Dr
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

ReTooled: Highlights from the Hechinger Collection, an engaging and thought-provoking look at the unexpected subject of tools, will be on view at the Bruce Museum in Greenwich, CT, from September...

Cost: Members and students with ID free. $10-$25

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Dr
Greenwich, CT  06830
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Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 2034136735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

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A series of graphic novel-style panels designed by illustrator Kirk Manley tells the dramatic story of the spy ring that operated between New York City, Long Island, and Fairfield during the...

Cost: Members: Free; Adults: $5; Seniors & Students: $3; children 5 and under: Free.

Where:
Fairfield Museum
370 Beach Rd
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »


Website »

More information

In this key moment in our national history and the struggle for women’s equality and freedom of expression, the Fairfield Museum’s exhibition “Flappers: Fashion and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Fairfield Museum and History Center
370 Beach Road
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »


Website »

More information

The Housatonic Museum of Art presents a new exhibition, “Drip Drop, Tick Tock” by regional artist, Joseph Fucigna. The show focuses on sculptures from the on-going Plastic Fencing...

Cost: Free

Where:
Housantonic Community College
900 Lafayette Blvd.
Bridgeport, CT  06604
View map »


Telephone: 120-333-25052
Contact Name: Robin Zella

More information

On June 23, the Bruce Museum in Greenwich opens Expressionism in Print: The Early Works of Richard Haas, 1957 - 64 in the Arcade Gallery. The exhibition will be on display through October 21, 2018....

Cost: Free for members; $10 for non-members; $8 for seniors and students with ID

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

Formed in 1963 in Stamford, CT, The Fifth Estate was a central part of the garage rock movement. Remember NBC's 'Hullabaloo'? They performed their crackin' song 'I Just...

Cost: $28

Where:
Fairfield Theatre Company at StageOne
70 Sanford Street
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »


Website »

More information

Open during regular Library hours Paradise [Lost] features a collection of color photographs by Árpád Krizsán, Best in Show winner of Pequot Library's 2017 Art Show....

Cost: Free and open to the public.

Where:
Pequot Library
720 Pequot Avenue
Southport, CT  06890
View map »


Sponsor: Pequot Library
Telephone: 203-259-0346
Contact Name: Pequot Library
Website »

More information

Heather Gaudio Fine Artis pleased to present “Top of the Hill: New Paintings,” a solo exhibition featuring new work by Brian Rutenberg. The show will open with a reception for...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Evocation of light is ever present in the romantic and experiential landscapes of Ira Barkoff. His recent works convey the spontaneity and the maturity of the artist’s hand and dedication to...

Cost: Free

Where:
Canfin Gallery
39 Main Street
Tarrytown, NY  10591
View map »


Sponsor: 1953
Telephone: 914-332-4554
Contact Name: Jean-Claude Canfin
Website »

More information

Francisco Fullana, Violin Soloist Join us for three masterpieces representing important moments in time for orchestral music.  Arvo...

Cost: $50; $37.50, $25, Students $10

Where:
Norwalk Concert Hall
125 East Avenue
NORWALK, CT  06855
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Symphony Orchestra
Telephone: 203-956-6771
Contact Name: Sandra Miklave, Executive Director
Website »

More information

On August 18, 2018, the Bruce Museum will open A Continuous Thread: Navajo Weaving Traditions. This exhibition will trace the history of the Navajo weaving tradition from the earliest...

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Dr
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

Laura from Olive My Skin will be joining us to talk about her lovely natural soaps, wood wick soy candles and skin care line, all proudly made in Connecticut. All Fair Trade, paraben free,...

Cost: free

Where:
The Smithy
10 Main Street
New Preston, CT  06777
View map »


Sponsor: The Smithy
Telephone: (860)868-9003
Contact Name: susan
Website »

More information

ReTooled: Highlights from the Hechinger Collection, an engaging and thought-provoking look at the unexpected subject of tools, will be on view at the Bruce Museum in Greenwich, CT, from September...

Cost: Members and students with ID free. $10-$25

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Dr
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 2034136735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

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