DENVER (KDVR) — When you think about fencing, most people think about the Olympics: thinner swords and all-white outfits. But the Denver Historical Fencing Academy does fencing a little bit differently.
FOX31 photojournalist Kevin Burr shows us how in a signature story.
“I think you know if this is going to be your thing. I tell people like, ‘Oh yeah, I just bought my first sword,’ and they’re like, ‘Great, like to hang on the wall?’ ‘No, I’ve been fighting people on the weekend,'” Aimee Wood, a student at the academy said.
“Most people when they hear about what we do don’t believe this is what we do,” Jason Barrons, founder and head instructor said.
“I think a lot of people are really surprised when they find out that this is more than just sword fighting, it actually is a martial art,” Tom Karnuta, board member and student said.
“HEMA is the type of historical fencing that we do. It stands for Historical European Martial Arts. We’ve seen historical fencing really blow up especially after Game of Thrones,” Barrons said.
“I found out that there was a group in Denver that was doing this, so I moved to Denver,” Wood said.
“The great thing about this is that you use your entire body in order to fence while with it. If I haven’t been fencing for a month and then I come in and go for a really hard session on a Saturday, usually on Sunday I can’t walk,” Barrons said.
“I’m in my mid-60s, I train right now four to five, maybe even six times a week just so I can stay up with these 25-, 26-year-olds,” Karnuta said.
“We started this with the specific goal in mind that anybody has the right to enjoy fencing,” Barrons said.
“I think the, sort of the great equalizer if me and a tall buff man were wrestling, this would be a little bit more difficult. But as soon as I have a blade I can defend myself much more easily,” Wood said.
“If somebody beats me, no big deal. But if I beat you, you just got beaten by an old guy,” Karnuta said.
“We wanted to be something that anybody who felt like they needed to be empowered in some way could come in the door and actually learn a skill,” Barrons said.
“If you are going through a hard time in your life, I think you need an outlet and if you are in need of something like that, come we’ll give you a sword like just all you need,” Wood said.
The Denver Historical Fencing Academy is located on South Jason Street in Denver.
A beginner’s course costs $90 and loaner equipment is provided.