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By: Mary Pittman-Jones, Elementary Principal
Who wouldn’t want to participate in a club where you get to sword fight with your friends?
AISA Elementary students in Grades 4 and 5 had the opportunity this year to study the Olympic sport of fencing, thanks to a passionate teacher, Ms. Tiffany Pulci, who took the initiative of offering the unusual sport as an after-school activity this past spring.
Signing up for Fencing Club demanded a big commitment from the participants including the cost of a kit of a fencing jacket, gloves, mask, epée, and a body cord. Beyond this, Tiffany had to purchase electronic scoring equipment that would allow the referee to know who scored each hit. As fencing is a fast sport, the equipment electronically records who has made contact with a legal touch. A fencing bout consists of three periods of three minutes each, with a one-minute rest between periods – whoever gets to fifteen touches first within the nine minutes is declared winner.
Not only is fencing a fantastic physical exercise, it is also a demanding mental workout that teaches sportsmanship, teamwork, respect, and quick thinking. It developed as a sport in the 18th century. The English term fencing means the art of using the sword scientifically. AISA students were taught to “feint,” “parry” and “riposte” in just eight short weeks and participated in a final tournament before their friends and parents. They performed beyond their parents’ wildest expectations. ‘I have to say that we were very impressed with what Miss Pulci was able to teach them in such a short time!’ said Mrs. Safia Muwakki, mother of fifth grader Laith.
Tiffany had always wanted to fence and first began her lessons in Buffalo, New York. Upon her arrival in the UAE, she located a fencing club in Dubai and participated in tournaments with her club. Her passion for the sport led her to offer it to these lucky AISA students.