Crusaders given big boost by the Olympics effect
PETER Elliott has been pleasantly surprised by the increased interest in fencing ever since the success of the Olympic Games this summer.
Elliott has been a member of Hull Crusaders Fencing Club for 16 years and admits the sport has never been more popular.
The 56-year-old is one of 60 members who enjoy a calmer version of boxing.
Elliott describes fencing as 'physical chess' and he hopes more people give it a go for the first time.
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"We have had a sudden influx of new members on the back of the Olympics," Elliott told the Mail.
"We now have a group of 12 new starters ranging from 12 to middle age.
"This is the most popular the sport has been in this country.
"We have a full mix of members and the good thing about fencing is that the sport is not age restricted.
"It comes down to what each individual wants to get out of the sport.
"I started when I was 40 because my son Mark wanted to check it out.
"I was looking to do something to keep fit and I didn't like running and I didn't play rugby.
"While I was there I liked what I saw and gave it a go and I've been there for the next 16 years.
"It's challenges you mentally and physically and you go home tired.
"It's like you are playing physical chess."
Hull Crusaders is the longest running fencing club in the city and has been going strong for over 50 years.
They stress they are a club that likes to fence rather than be ultra-competitive in leagues. Fun is the key element at their base at Hull Collegiate in Anlaby.
And Elliott is keen to stress that the elitist opinion of fencing couldn't be farther from the truth.
"Fencing had that reputation that it was a rich man's sport, but that is not the case," he said.
"My advice to anyone thinking of giving it a go is to come down and give it a try.
"Throw away your pre-conceived ideas as to what you might think fencing is like.
"It is the perfect way to end a stressful day as it allows you to vent your frustrations.
"We provide the equipment so there is no need to spend a lot of money.
"All you need to bring is a pair of tracksuit bottoms and the rest will be provided.
"We are a club that likes to fence and we don't take things too seriously.
"If members just want to come down once a month, we can accommodate them too.
"We have found the sport popular with young people before going on to join a fencing club at university."
HULL Crusaders Fencing Club meet at Hull Collegiate School, Anlaby, every Thursday at 7.30pm.