Rogue Fencing Academy opened in Woodbridge this spring at 14 Selden St., between Woodbridge Social and Thai Stories restaurants.
Co-founder and head coach Sandra Marchant has been a multiple time national medalist, Vet 40 National Champion, and 2020 Vet 50 World Team member. She is currently a member of Team USA, meaning she is ranked among the top three in the country. In July, if she requalifies at that level she will compete in the World Championship in October.
Most of her students, however, don’t know their coach is an elite athlete. “They just know me as coach,” Marchant says with a smile.
At age 25 her parents’ accountant, who happened to be a fencing teacher, encouraged her to join a class noting that she was interested in Star Wars and swordplay. Marchant has always been a fan of superheroes, particularly Wonder Women and Xena. She grew up playing cops and robbers and using sticks as swords with her male cousins.
Fencing, for her, is an extension of that childhood fantasy play. “When you pull down your fencing mask, you can be anybody,” she says.
There are three types of fencing – foil, sabre and epee. The types differ based on the blades and how points are earned. Marchant focuses on epee, she says, because there are fewer rules. Epee is derived from battle.
Fencing is a cerebral sport –battlefield chess – and tends to attract gamers and people more suited to individual sports as opposed to team sports.
Marchant never wanted to run her own business and enjoyed teaching through the Town of Prospect’s Park and Recreation department. When the pandemic hit all recreation programs ended and her students asked her to find a way to continue training. One Woodbridge-based student’s parent found her an empty studio space where she opened Rogue Fencing Academy.
Some of her students train for fun; others compete internationally. The company offers a youth program for ages 7-12; a competitive program for ages 13 and up and an elite program for athletes who want to compete nationally and internationally.
For more information visit https://www.roguefencingacademy.com/