Friday, June 26, 2015

The Fencing Center is Celebrating Their Anniversary on July 5th

Not only are the U.S. National Fencing Championships in San Jose this year (June 27-July 6), but the oldest fencing club in Silicon Valley--and the largest fencing venue in the Bay Area by far--is celebrating the one-year anniversary of their new facility by unveiling two large sculptures on July 5th. The unveiling event will have food, drinks, and music and me emceed by Scott Knies (Executive Director of the San Jose Downtown Association).

To be honest, I had no idea we had such a prestigious fencing facility in San Jose. The Fencing Center has been responsible for Junior and Senior National Champions, U.S. Olympic Team members, NCAA all-Americans, and prominent international fencing officials and coaches. For more info, check out the press release below or head over to their website (wow, they managed to register the domain

SAN JOSE – With more than 4,000 athletes in town for the U.S. Fencing National Championships, the South Bay’s oldest fencing club, The Fencing Center of San Jose, will celebrate the one-year anniversary of its new facility with the unveiling of two sculptures by former U.S. Olympic fencer Peter Schifrin on July 5. 

The Fencing Center will host “A Celebration of U.S. Fencing,” open to the public, on July 5 from 6-8 p.m. The reception will feature a performance by Schifrin at 7 p.m. when his two fencing themed sculptures, “The Salute” and “The Final Touch,” are presented to The Fencing Center where they will be on permanent loan. 

The largest fencing tournament in the world, the Nationals will feature both individual and team events in three weapons – foil, saber and epee – with national titles awarded for both men and women in all age groups, plus berths on National teams.

While the National Championships take place at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center June 27-July 6, The Fencing Center welcomes all competitors to practice for free at its new 15,000 square foot club just south of downtown San Jose at 1290 S. First Street. 

The two bronze sculptures of fencers are the first sports-themed work Schifrin has created since his San Jose State University days as a young epee fencer who represented the U.S. in the 1984 Olympic Games. A former Fencing Center coach and now an art professor at Academy of Art University in San Francisco, Schifrin is known for his public art sculptures, notably Coyotes in San Jose and Confluence in San Francisco. 

“The Fencing Center’s dedication to the art of fencing continues through these powerful sculptures that celebrate the very joy of our sport,” said Sandeep Tawari, president of The Fencing Center Board of Directors.

Connie Yu, a long time coach at the club, commissioned the sculptures in homage to the legacy of The Fencing Center in San Jose. Yu, while a fencer herself, served on The Fencing Center’s first board of directors, and her three children, Jennifer, Jessica and Martin were all fencers, too.

“Fencing is an art form as well as a competitive sport. It’s not just about making the touches and winning,” Yu said. “I want to bring back the culture and pageantry that inspire people to be fencers, and having Peter’s sculptures here can help do that.”

The Fencing Center has a long association with downtown San Jose. Its first club opened in 1982 on the second floor of the old Mercury News Building at 10 Notre Dame Avenue, then moved to 40 North Street after incorporating as a non-profit organization, and finally operating for 18 years at 110 Stockton Avenue just behind the SAP Center until last year.

The Fencing Center boasts a long roster of members who have become Junior and Senior National champions, U.S. Olympic Team members, NCAA all-Americans, international fencing officials and prominent fencing coaches. The center continues its tradition of offering classes for all weapons and levels of fencing, including an introductory course, as well as being a host site for local and regional tournaments with 16 Olympic length strips, making it by far the largest fencing venue in the Bay Area. 

The special event on July 5 begins at 6 p.m. with food, beverages and music. The program will commence at 7 p.m. and be emceed by The Fencing Center’s first Executive Director, Scott Knies. There will be open fencing from 8 - 10 p.m. 

A $10 donation per person is suggested. 

For more information on The Fencing Center of San Jose:

For more information on The U.S. Fencing National Championships:

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