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Fencing's popularity pointing up in West Michigan | News

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Fencing's popularity pointing up in West Michigan

GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) - Don't call it a comeback.  Fencing has been here for years.

Close to 3,000 years, actually.  But it's growing in popularity in now, thanks to the West Michigan Fencing Academy.

Head coach Mike Nemecek welcomes a full house to his academy, located on the southwest side of Grand Rapids, each week.

Kids, teenagers and adults are all suiting up with armour to enjoy a sport that's origin dates back to ancient Egypt.  

But why?

"Just the idea of wielding a sword," says Nemecek.  "When I first tried to get into it years ago, I wanted to do it because I wanted to sword fight."

Wielding a sword got him started, what got him to stay involved a whole lot more.

"You can have fun on the surface and stay there forever," Nemecek says. 

"The more you learn, the more you realize you don't know.  It's always like evolving so you have to learn new stuff."

Nemecek equates fencing to a conversation.  But there's always a winner and a loser in this kind of communication.  

Two people speaking the same language on the fencing strip with give and take, until a point is finally scored.

"They say it's like mental chess," says instructor Sam Nemecek.  

"Physical chess.  Not only are you having to move and push yourself physically.  You have to be in the moment and adapt quickly."

Sam Nemecek was able to adapt quickly to the sport and earn a fencing scholarship to Northwestern University.

She played many sports growing up, but fencing proved to be her calling... because of its unpredictability.

"Nothing is ever the same," says Nemecek.  

"You might fence one person and understand them completely.  But the next time you fence someone else, even the same person, it changes completely."

The West Michigan Fencing Academy hosts classes throughout the year.  For more information, visit their website at wmfa.org.