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Fencing club forms in Mountain View with classes for any level

A+fencer+practices+a+lunge.+%E2%80%9CRegardless+of+your+age+or+gender%2C+fencing+is+easy+to+pick+up%2C%E2%80%9D+Bayside+Fencing+Club+co-owner+Xin+Zhang+said.
Lucas Yuan/The Campanile
A fencer practices a lunge. “Regardless of your age or gender, fencing is easy to pick up,” Bayside Fencing Club co-owner Xin Zhang said.

Senior Allan Chu strolls into a brightly-lit arena with his friend as they put on their fencing suits. He scans the facility, recalling the run-down depot that stood there only a couple months earlier. Walking onto the fencing strip, Chu turns to face his friend inside the Bayside Fencing Club.

Opened on Oct. 1 and located at 1080 La Avenida Ave Mountain View, Bayside Fencing Club offers fencing classes to teens and younger children every day except Sunday.

Started by Chu’s coaches and mother, the club aims to promote fencing to young people around the Bay.

Chu said the club’s formation started during the pandemic. Slava Zingerman, one of the coaches and co-owners, said the three partners running the club came together with a shared vision.

“Dima (Chumak), Xin (Zhang) and I opened the club because of shared ideologies,” Zingerman said. “I’ve always wanted a club, and I think Dima felt the same. And two of Xin’s kids fence, one at (Paly) and the other at Columbia University.”

Co-owner Zhang said the quality of the coaches at Bayside is first-rate.

“We have world-class coaches,” Zhang said. “Between the three of them, they have coached World Champions, made appearances in the Olympics, won World Championship medals and have made appearances on the Ukrainian and Israeli national teams countless times.”

Unlike the other two owners, Zhang said she uses her strong background in business development and finance to manage the business aspect of the club.

“As a team, we have very different responsibilities,” Zhang said. “Together we can be very strong.”

Zhang considered many factors when forming the club.

“Our facility is next to the intersection of 85 and 101, giving families around the Bay easy access,” Zhang said. “We wanted a large facility with a good location and an open area to fit the fencing strips, and we eventually settled with this facility.”

In addition to renting the facility, the team also had to remodel the place.

“The coaches have been very handy in this process,” Zhang said. “They could paint the walls, set up the machines and fix broken stuff around the facility.”

Chu said the club has been running well.

“The new club feels more personal than the old club,” Chu said. “If my friends and I just want to fence on the weekend, we can hit each other up. We just go and be friends.”

Zhang said the initial success of the club was primarily due to good planning and strong connections within the fencing community.

“We had a lot of good inputs, and also we learned from other people’s experiences,” Zhang said. “The coaches here have friends at other clubs, and they often offer advice.”

With a lot of sign ups, Zhang said she hopes the club can help kids find a lifelong love for fencing and continue it at a competitive level.

“Regardless of your age or gender, fencing is easy to pick up,” Zhang said. “Especially if they’re young, we hope to maintain their interest in fencing and set them up for a strong career in the future.”

As a former fencer on the Israeli national team, Zingerman said his goal is to make the best fencer out of every kid.

“I want to send our fencers to the best colleges with fencing programs,” he said.

Co-owner and former Olympian Dima Chumak said the club’s strong foundation will lead to long-term success.

“Basically every detail was thought through and all those means of making a good fencing practice are considered,” Chumak said. “We know how it goes. After all, this club was founded by fencers, for fencers.”

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Lucas Yuan, Managing Editor
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