March 4, 2011 – Marlborough continues to establish itself as a burgeoning sports Mecca with the recent opening of the Crossroads Fencing Center on Route 85. Owned by Robert and Kathy Patterson, the fencing center became a reality in December 2010 after Robert, an engineer for 25 years, was laid off.
Located in a strip of warehouses behind Kennedy’s Pub, the center offers four fencing strips with scoring machines wired into place. The Pattersons, both coaches, trained to fence with former US Olympic coaches and athletes and received coaching certification from the US Fencing Association Coaches College at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, CO.
Robert had been trying for a while to get a lease signed to set up his own club, since his young students wanted to fence more than twice a week and Saturday classes were in demand too. “Once I got laid off I decided to go for it full force. We had most of the equipment, accumulated over the years, we just needed to put down the special floor and scoring machines. I am an engineer so I designed and built the scoring machines myself instead of going and buying them at $300- $400 each.”
“Marlborough seems like a good location, it’s a half hour from anywhere,” said Robert. The couple is working with the recreation departments of other neighboring towns to popularize fencing. Right now they work in Wayland, and Sudbury which has asked for an adaptive needs class and even wheelchair fencing, while Southborough wants to do an after school program.
Meanwhile a lot of colleges offer the sport of fencing. Recently Robert was referee at a regional intercollegiate fencing competition, where seventeen colleges participated. He feels, “We can also be a home for former fencers in the area, typically those who may have fenced in college, and we can support open fencing for those who’d like to get back in practice and compete again.”
Classes at Cross Roads Fencing introduce the student to footwork, the weapon, uniform, scoring, and rules and traditions of Olympic style electric Epee fencing. All equipment is provided in the beginner classes.
Cross Roads Fencing is truly a family business. At 16, Robert Patterson II is an assistant coach who fences locally and continues to compete in National events across the country. Parents Robert and Kathy are active in the community; Robert has previously coached youth hockey and Kathy mentors middle school students in engineering.
Of all sports if you ask yourself why choose fencing? The answer is fencing improves coordination, balance, strength, flexibility, and conditioning. And you could be burning 400 calories an hour!
By Ajita Perera
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