Rambler Newspapers

Serving Irving, Coppell and Grand Prairie

Irving—The Exhibition Hall of the Irving Convention Center was filled with buzzing alarms, and the clank of metal on metal as parents and friends cheered from the sidelines.

Over the Labor Day Weekend, the North Texas Roundup Fencing tournament hosted more than 800 competitors from all over the country, ages 6 to 16, in the qualifying tournament. Those who placed will be able to continue on to the national fencing competition. The tournament included three types of weapons: epee, foil and saber.

Four local fencing clubs created The North Texas Fencing Coalition to host the event. The clubs involved in the coalition are the Fencing Institute of Texas, Cutting Edge Fencing Club, Gold Blade Fencing Center, and the North Texas Fencing Alliance.

“This is super youth circuit event, a national event that brings in children from all over the country,” Brenda Waddoups, the committee chair for the tournament, said. “This is a qualifying path to go to the summer national events. Our goal is to keep building national events and then go on to build international events here in the North Texas area.
“It is common for most of the children here to be first generation Americans. There really is not a culture of fencing in the United States. There are only about 40,000 fencers in the United States right now, just because it is not part of our culture. There are people who start fencing in college. It is fairly new to have children fencing in this country, but it is growing.”

“There are so many benefits for children in fencing. It is a martial art, but it is a dance form. Ballet was developed to teach the footwork of fencing. It is very much ingrained in dance and martial art. The children learn a lot about their physical ability. They also have to focus, and it requires a lot of mental ability. It is also an emotional strength. They own the strip out there. They have to keep themselves calm and focused. They have to fence their emotions as they are trying to score on their opponents. It is a very interesting sport,” she said.

Victoria Doroshkevich (13) has been fencing since she was ten years old.

“At first I was not sure if fencing was my thing,” Victoria said. “I like sword fighting that is pretty cool. People need to keep their bodies healthy and exercise.

“They also need to ask for lessons from the coach, so you can learn more. When I was little, people did not think I had a lot of potential. When I came in second place, they realized I know that I am strong. It has given me a lot of confidence. I used to be scared to get in front of the class, but now I know I can, because I am brave from fencing.”

Twelve year old twins Noah and Zach Shoman both placed in their tournament.

“Fencing is fast and you have to be able to move quickly,” Noah said.

“I have fun doing it,” Zach said. “It is not relaxing, but it is a comforting sport. I like fencing especially when I am trying out new skills on an opponent.”

The twins do not practice against each other.

“We often do not agree on touches, so we do not feel comfortable fencing against each other,” Noah said. “It is easy for us keep peace if we are not fencing each other.”

“People need to know you have to work for it, you cannot just take a lesson once a month,” Zach said. “You have to be focused and motivated to do well in this sport.”

“It is a coincidence that we are doing fencing,” Norah Shoman, the mother of the twins, said. “All four of our children enjoy fencing. I do not have to juggle four different sports, so I appreciate that. It is a very good environment for children and their families.

“It is like mental chess and physical chess. You cannot throw kids in this sport and expect them to be a star. Your children really have to be engaged to succeed in the support. This sport needs patience and encouragement. You have to be as smart mentally as you are physically fit.”

“You have to really love the sport to be good at it,” Miriam Shoman (14) said. “You have to use a lot of your intelligence.”