By Maia Muttoo
Now you can emulate Robin Hood, The Three Musketeers, Zorro, Jack Sparrow and other famed swashbucklers of the silver screen, right here in the Cayman Islands.
Recently recognised by the Cayman Islands Olympic Committee as the country’s official governing body for fencing, the Cayman Islands Fencing Federation aims to increase an understanding of, and participation in, the sport locally.
When chairman Logan Golema arrived on island two years ago, he was eager to get involved with the community. A lifelong competitive fencer, Golema was surprised to discover that despite active regional participation in the sport, there was no official fencing organisation in the Cayman Islands. He made it his mission to create an outlet for both recreational and competitive fencers here.
The Federation already boasts a number of exceptional talents. Young Caymanian athletes Ariana Rondon and Ben Ebanks are competitive in the women’s and men’s epee events respectively, and champion fencer Ian Lenthart has already medalled for the Cayman Islands at a series of international competitions. The Federation hopes to see at least one of its athletes compete in the 2024 summer Olympics, but its broader goal is to introduce the sport to Grand Cayman residents of any age or experience level.
“For the average person,” Golema says, “fencing is really exciting. If this is something you’ve ever wanted to try — maybe you’ve seen it in a movie or watched it on the Olympics — the Fencing Federation is here for that.”
Golema says fencing is a sport that anyone can do as long as the person is able to extend his or her arm with a weight of about three pounds.
Beginners have no reason to feel intimidated because the Federation is built on the tenets of honour, integrity and solidarity, Golema says, adding that the atmosphere at practices is lighthearted and welcoming. Amateur fencers are taught all the skills they’ll need to properly practise the sport with plastic equipment before graduating to scored bouts (matches) on the piste (the fencing “court”).
Fencing offers the physical conditioning, pleasure, discipline and self-defense benefits of a martial art without the many injury risks of other combat sports.
Practices are held on Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Camana Bay Arts & Recreation Centre, and Fridays through Sundays at the Performance Lab on Mary Street. New members attend their first session for free. A variety of membership packages are available for those who elect to continue their training, from drop-ins to annual unlimited packages.
The Federation has also planned a public event on 13 February at the Arts & Recreation Centre called “Lover’s Quarrel.” The tongue-in-cheek event on the evening before Valentine’s Day offers an opportunity for couples to let out their frustrations on the piste with a friendly bout of fencing. Tickets cost CI$30 and include equipment and instruction.
For more information on that event or on joining the Cayman Islands Fencing Federation, visit www.fencing.ky or email [email protected]
This article originally appeared in the December 2019 print edition of Camana Bay Times with the headline “A swashbuckling good time.”