Indoor Family Fitness with Fencing

By Kathy Zucker

The new year has come to the Hoboken area accompanied by frigidly cold temperatures, averaging below 20º all week. From now until April, I look for indoor activities to occupy the whole family. I prefer drop-in classes because with multiple children and unpredictable nap times, we have a bad track record of making it to all 16 sessions of a semester-long afterschool or weekend class.

childfencingOver the last year, Cobra Fencing has proven to be a winter weekend haven. With 25,000 square feet, there is plenty of room for the kids to run around like maniacs in a controlled environment. I glance up occasionally from my bagel and tea in the cafeteria to spot them playing with several other kids in one of the two large rooms that comprise the space.

My husband and five year old daughter have been coming to the club for the last two years for Saturday morning classes; my daughter jumps rope and runs on a floor ladder while my husband teaches an adult épée class in the next room. This year, my three year old son and I have been accompanying them.

We literally spend the entire day, parking our car at 10 a.m. in the large free lot across the street from Cobra. The first few times I visited I did some footwork and target practice, but since I became pregnant I mostly sit in the cafeteria and chat with other parents. There are several toddlers who accompany their parents to adult classes, doing arts and crafts with a babysitter on the raised strip where gold medal bouts are fenced.

After classes are over around noon, my husband will usually free fence and take a lesson while the kids have a snack, play computer games and watch the “big” kids do repair work on their weapons in the armory. The older kids range from 10-18 years in age and are touchingly receptive and protective toward the little ones invading their space.

While I have been a fencer for the last 17 years, this is the first time I’ve experienced it as a parent. I never worry about my kids when I am at Cobra Fencing. Fencing is a huge community. There are many clubs around the United States, such as Rochester Fencing, where I can show up with my kids on a practice day and know that we’re all going to have a fun, relaxed day.

Fencing is also welcoming to the uninitiated; Cobra Fencing invited the Metro Moms to take a free class, and the feedback from the kids (ages 5 & 6) was that they loved it. I am so glad that my kids love fencing because if they stick with it, it’s a great way to get an edge in college admissions, with potential scholarship funding. It’s how their father got into the college where he and I met on the fencing team.

Kathy Zucker, serial entrepreneur and mother of two toddlers, writes about juggling career and family in an urban setting. See what Kathy is up to at her blog and on Twitter.

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