September through December was very busy months for the athletes at the Olympian Fencing Club of San Antonio. Different fencers in all age classes competed in U.S. cities including Secaucus, NJ, Denver, CO, and Louisville, KY; some traveled as far as Copenhagen, Denmark and Grenoble, France, and then back to Olympian Fencing Club for the year ending Holiday Party, Dec. 27.
A combination of 67 Gold, Silver and Bronze medals were awarded. Several of the fencers received medals at each of the different tournaments.
Fencing is a fast growing sport among the youth. Children as young as six years old are picking up the epee and learning the sport from the professionals such as Velizar Iliev, Head Coach at the Olympian Fencing Club. At Olympian the fencers learn how to use the Epee (one of the three weapons in fencing), a round blade sword with a special tip that electronically records “touches” to a scoreboard. The whole body, including the mask, is the target.
Luke Kolbinskie is 11 years old and Robin Cheong, 16 years old. Kolbinskie got interested in fencing when he was 6 years old. Cheong picked up the epee for the first time when he was 10.
“It’s fun,” said Kolbinskie who attends Blatiman Elementary. “I saw Olympic fencing on TV and it looked pretty cool, and so I wanted to try it out.” He describes the Super Youth Circuit tournament in Chandler, AZ as one of his toughest tournaments. He came back to San Antonio with a Bronze Medal in the Y-12 fencing classification. The different fencing classifications are based on age and skill. “There was lots of competition, some very good fencers, very tough to beat.” Since September, Kolbinskie has earned two Gold Medals, four Silver Medals, and one Bronze Medal.
“He picked up a lot of points at the Chandler tournament,” said Ken Kolbinskie, Luke’s father. “He moved up from 14th in the country to 5th in the country in Y-12 men’s epee.” Luke finished third in the country last year and received the bronze medal in the Summer National Championships.
Robin Cheong is a junior at St. Mary’s Hall. “Starting from about freshman year, basically the entire fall semester, I will be in an out of school,” said Cheong. “As long as I keep up my grades, keep up with the work, turn things in when I get back, the teachers (and administration) are fine with me being out of class so much.” Cheong has a 4.31 GPA, “mostly all A plus grades,” he adds.
He says fencing for him is kind of like solving math problems; his favorite subject is math.
“In a sense they are both very logical. You have to understand exactly what is going on; the problem-solution process is pretty similar.
“Fencing is very competitive and I really love competition; it’s part of my character,” continued Cheong. “It’s pretty interesting. There are so many elements, like in the footwork, distance, blade work and the way you can combine them.”
Cheong received the coveted “A” rating which translates that he is one of the best in his fencing classification. Since September he has earned two Gold Medals and two Silver Medals. His travels this past fall have put in Denmark, Austria, and Luxembourg.
Olympian Fencing Club, 3200 McCullough Ave., San Antonio 78212 has private and group fencing classes for all ages, including adult. Open fencing times are available. Click on http://www.OlympianFencingClub.com/ for a complete list of all the fencers and their accomplishments this past fall. More information about fencing at Olympian Fencing Club can be obtained by calling 210-872-2004.