Domashovetz spreads his love for fencing to the youth of the Roaring Fork Valley
Glenwood Springs Post Independent
If you go to the Glenwood Center for the Arts on a Wednesday afternoon, you might be surprised at what you discover behind the double white doors.
There is a clang of metal blades, the shouts of “en garde!” and children dressed in monochrome white lamés. It’s not an art class or a music lesson — it’s fencing.
Fencing is considered a nontraditional sport despite its Olympic status. Instructor Greg Domashovetz brings a good balance of good fun and seriousness to his fencing lessons that he hopes will draw more students to the sport.
“Fencing isn’t a hard sport to sell for the most part. … It sells itself as you get to play with swords,” he said. “Mainly the challenge lies in making people aware of the sport, so I try to do that through live demos at events, online advertisements and physical advertisements.”
Domashovetz fell in love with fencing in Chicago when he was a senior in high school. He continued his love for the sport by competing for a club team at the University of Illinois.
After fencing in college, he moved to Denver and started to referee USA Fencing events and started his coaching career at the Denver Fencing Center. In 2017, Domashovetz moved to the Roaring Fork Valley and opened up the Roaring Fork Fencers Club.
Since then, Domashovetz has been commuting across the valley sharing his expertise in the sport to about 35 students in Glenwood, Aspen, Snowmass, Rifle and New Castle. Domashovetz leads with the main mission “to develop and sustain passionate fencers.” Domashovetz said this is what makes his club successful.
“When the students love what they are doing, it takes care of the bills and my goals for them,” he explained. “I don’t have to yell at them, because they too want to see success and want to be at the lessons.”
The pandemic stalled Domashovetz’s business plans for the fencing club, but like many others during the peak of COVID-19, Domashovetz got creative.
“I was able to do one-on-one lessons outside by going house to house to instruct my students in their yards or driveways,” Domashovetz said.
Once restrictions eased up to allow in-person lessons again, Domashovetz resumed instructing group lessons and overseeing group sparring sessions.
Domashovetz’s students usually start their lesson with a series of warm-up games where they practice both their coordination and balance in a tag-like game. After the students are warm, Domashovetz leads his pupils through a series of fencing-specific stretches as he casually talks to them while occasionally cracking a joke or fielding a question from a student.
After being properly warmed up, the real fun for the day starts: group sparring. The kids run to their bags, determined to put their lamés, helmets and gloves on so they can start sparring as soon as possible. Once the floor is set up with metal sensitive sensors on each end, two students stand across from one another with their sabers in hand and try to use one of Domashovetz’s main teachings of using both their “brain and brawn” while they fence.
The students focus on their form, keep their cores tight and stay light on their feet while also trying to figure out what their partner’s next move may be. Many are breathing heavily after a quick bout due in large part to having to concentrate on so many different parts of their bodies at once.
Faye Van Moorsel, a student of Domashovetz’s for the past year, said, “Greg is an exceptional teacher as he focuses on what skills can constantly be improved upon, so I am always getting better.”
“I also feel like I have gotten a lot more social and made a lot more new friends by being in the class,” Van Moorsel added of what she has noticed since entering the class.
One of Domashovetz’s greatest pleasures as a coach is seeing his students fence either against one another or in the occasional area competition.
“For me to see them put together all I have taught them in those group and private lessons for weeks is very satisfying to me,” he said.
Domashovetz wants everyone to know the sport of fencing is ultimately for everyone, and anyone who wants to try it out should.
“I’ve seen people of every socioeconomic status, sexual orientation and gender,” he said. “If you are thinking about the sport, try it, because it’s a fun sport and still has 21st century appeal.”
Greg Domashovetz displays a stretch to his class | Cody Jones/Glenwood Springs Post Independent
How to Sign up: Go to RoaringForkFC.as.me/SummerClasses
Cost: $45 for a 1 hour and 45 minute group lesson, $40 for private lessons
Where: Glenwood Community Art Center, Red Brick Center for the Arts, or other area locations for individual lessons
Time: 4-6 p.m. for group lesson
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