Adjunct shares love of fencing

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Kinesiology junior Felix Castillo learns how to disengage from criminal justice sophomore Christopher Perez in sabre fencing Tuesday in Gym 1. In sabre fencing the target is from the waist up, including the head.  Photo by Vanessa Frausto

Kinesiology junior Felix Castillo learns how to disengage from criminal justice sophomore Christopher Perez in sabre fencing Tuesday in Gym 1. In sabre fencing the target is from the waist up, including the head. Photo by Vanessa Frausto

Former student now teaches what she learned at this college.

By Melissa Luna

sac-ranger@alamo.edu

Fencing Adjunct Bernadette Guerra teaches the only fencing class offered in the Alamo Colleges.

Her class actually is a combination of three courses, KINE 1123, KINE 1124 and KINE 2123, Fencing 1-3. It is offered at 10:50 a.m. Tuesday-Thursday in Gym 1 of Candler Physical Education Center.

Twenty-one students are enrolled to earn college credit and meet other local and national competitors.

Guerra, certified by the U.S. Fencing Association, is an assistant coach at Olympian Fencing Club, 3200 McCullough Ave.

In 1993, Guerra was an education major at this college and needed kinesiology credits for a degree.

Choosing a kinesiology course didn’t excite her because she wasn’t an athlete in high school. Instead, she participated in band and booster activities. She picked fencing because she said it was something different.

Over the years, she participated in local and national fencing meets and fell in love with the sport, so much that she wants to share the joy of the sport with students.

After earning a liberal arts degree from this college, she earned a bachelor’s degree in physical education and a master’s in kinesiology from the University of the Incarnate Word.

In her fencing class at this college, she teaches techniques and ways students can be mentally and physically prepared for a bout.

She also wants her students to learn how to take apart and reassemble an épée, foil and saber and make repairs. Having those skills can save fencers money.

She is helping her students organize a fencing club as a student organization at this college. The club will allow them to become more active in the fencing community and raise awareness for the sport.

In an organizational meeting, students elected Christopher Perez president and Christopher Williams vice president.

To raise awareness of fencing, Guerra has arranged to have demonstrations at an elementary school and plans to schedule more.

Fencing has been offered at this college for decades, but the decline in class enrollment resulted in the reduction of the number of sections offered, kinesiology Chair Brad Dudney said Wednesday.

In the 1970s and 1980s, Professors Paul Pesthy and Les Bleamaster, former Olympic fencers, taught fencing when the sport was popular in San Antonio, Dudney said.

The U.S. Modern Olympic Pentathlon trained for the 1979 Olympics in San Antonio, he said.

For more information about the fencing organization or the class, email bguerra3@alamo.edu.

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