Cornerstone Classical School Revives Fencing Tradition

Cornerstone Classical School Revives Fencing Tradition

In the minds of many, fencing often conjures images of barbed wire and chain link. However, for students at Cornerstone Classical School in Salina, fencing has taken on a whole new meaning. Thanks to the initiative of Charlie Todd, the school is reintroducing the art of fencing to the community.

Todd, a seasoned fencer trained under the renowned Gia Kvaratskhelia, has brought his passion for fencing to the Salina school. Having honed his skills since 1998 and represented Kanza Fencing Clubs in various tournaments, Todd is now passing on his expertise to the next generation of fencers in Salina.

Expressing gratitude to those who paved the way for fencing, Todd emphasizes his commitment to providing similar opportunities for aspiring athletes. "I will be forever grateful to Boo Hodges for first bringing the sport of fencing to Salina in the mid 1990's and to Gia for transforming the club into a national contender. I feel a responsibility to provide a similar opportunity to another generation of fencers in Salina," Coach Todd said. The fencing club, now a part of Cornerstone's extracurricular activities, practices three times a week and welcomes students from grades 7 to 12.

While currently not sponsored by KSHSAA, the club plans to participate in local tournaments and expand its reach to neighboring states. With eight enthusiastic students already enrolled, both boys and girls are encouraged to join, fostering an inclusive environment for aspiring fencers.

Beyond the physical aspects of the sport, fencing instills valuable life skills such as concentration, precision, and sportsmanship. These qualities align with Cornerstone's mission of nurturing well-rounded individuals capable of mastering body, mind, and soul.

In addition to fencing, students at Cornerstone engage in a variety of KSHSAA-sponsored activities, with plans to establish their own teams as the school continues to grow. Headmaster Christopher Stevens highlights the significance of martial sports in education, noting their parallel with academic and spiritual development. "We are grateful to have fencing at Cornerstone as martial sports are important for children, especially boys. Fencing requires strength, grace, endurance, and precision which are analogous to many of the qualities we are inculcating academically and spiritually. We also enjoy the historical aspect of the sport as our students find sword-fighting is ubiquitous in their history readings from Homer’s Illiad to the legend of King Arthur."

For students like Nahla Green, Grade 7, fencing offers an exhilarating blend of strategy and athleticism. Under the guidance of Coach Todd, students not only learn the art of swordplay but also develop camaraderie and resilience. "I didn't know much about fencing, and I really enjoy learning new things.  I especially like practicing new ways to attack. I like that fencing is fast and that each battle is unique."

As Cornerstone Classical School revives the tradition of fencing in Salina, it not only enriches the extracurricular landscape but also cultivates a new generation of skilled athletes and principled individuals.

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