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Parents can book children now to learn the sport of fencing with champion fencer Ping Yuan at the ASB Sports Centre, Kilbirnie.
Children over seven will be able to parry, lunge, glide and thrust with one of the best at any of four classes that are taking place, starting with a free session on 25 October.
Ping, 30, originally from Shanghai, China, has coached fencing in Wellington for the past four years. A professional fencer since the age of 14, she won the gold medal for fencing at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne. In 2011 she was awarded best coach by the Fencing New Zealand Federation.
Her students have enjoyed great success nationally and internationally, including a silver medal in the 2009 New Zealand National Fencing Championships.
Ping says fencing is as much for the body as for the mind, and is particularly suited to kids who haven't found their niche in other sports. She describes it as, "one of the noblest sports," requiring great intelligence and athleticism.
"It is very elegant and challenging. It can nurture multiple athletic skills, body control, fitness and etiquette. It can also encourage agile thinking and psychological well-being for overcoming life's difficulties," she says.
The sport of fencing is becoming increasingly popular throughout the world, particularly among school students, but is still relatively uncommon in New Zealand.
ASB Sports Centre Manager Craig Hutchings says the introduction of fencing coaching for children diversifies the already-wide range of sports available at the centre.
"We are pleased to be able to support the growth of non-mainstream sports," he says.
"We strive to provide high quality coaching. To have Ping Yuan, a Commonwealth gold medallist, coaching is a real privilege and will ensure children are provided with the highest level of instruction."
Ping says she is happy with her move from professional fencing to professional coaching, and loves seeing her students' progress. "I'd like to help more young fencers express themselves in the world arena."
The sessions are taking place on Thursdays at 3.45 - 4.45pm:
Sessions are $10/hour per student. Classes are limited to 14.
To book, contact Ping Huan on email email@example.com or phone 021 059 2558.