Founded in 1999 by Kenneth Shelton and the late Richard Daniels, the Galveston Fencing Club exists to introduce the sport of fencing to Galveston. The club provides lessons for beginners and a recreational venue for more practiced fencers looking for exercise and fun by “crossing blades” with each other.
In keeping with its mission, the club offers an inexpensive package of five beginner’s classes for $25 to non-members. The club provides foils, masks, jackets, plastrons and gloves. Students are encouraged to wear T-shirts, some types of sweats or warm-up pants and tennis shoes or other athletic shoes. Shorts, sandals and flip-flops are not permitted for safety reasons. Additionally all students must take out a $5 membership in the United States Fencing Association, the sport’s national governing body, for insurance purposes.
Classes are free to members of the club. Club membership is $30 per fencing year for students and $60 for adults (plus USFA membership). The fencing year ends on July 31.
There are three “weapons” in modern Olympic fencing: foil, epee and sabre. All beginners first learn foil and are required to be well-grounded in its basics before taking up either of the other weapons. In foil fencing, only touches made with the tip count, and only when made on the torso. Arms, legs and mask are considered, off-target. Emphasis is placed on safety, balance, control and precision.
In addition to beginners, the club is open to both recreational and competitive fencers. The Galveston Fencing Club meets on Monday and Wednesday evenings in the gym at the O’Connell School and all O’Connell and Holy Family School students are welcome to take classes at no charge. The class for elementary age students is held from 6:15 to 7:15 p.m. The teen and adult classes follow, from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m.