When I came to IFA my primary objective in mind was to enjoy learning the sport of fencing, but IFA has given me much more; besides demanding fencing training, I find a great coach, and also a family at IFA. When I come to IFA in the afternoon I enter a warm and welcoming atmosphere where exhausting practice sessions are waiting for me. The classes in which I participate in are well structured including a proper warm up of muscles to prevent injuries, conditioning and footwork, fencing drills, and fencing bouts. The tiring fencing exercises are made easier by practicing alongside my friends with who I enjoy demanding practice bouts on the fencing strip and joking around off the fencing strip.

The practice sessions are conducted under close supervision of Coach Ra’ad who is an excellent coach in my opinion, as he knows exactly how to evaluate his students and provide them with the necessary training and drills in order to have them achieve their goals. Part of the process of training fencing is also taking private lessons which are given to me by Coach Ra’ad. When I take private lessons I feel challenged and overwhelmed with the knowledge he provides me with, which I feel is specialized to my level and ability. When I show him that I put a great amount of effort into the sport I can count on him to stand by my side when I compete in the tournaments.

In the summer of 2014 IFA organized a two week trip to Jordan, Coach Ra’ad’s home country, where the IFA fencers fenced with the Jordanian National team. The training with the Jordanian National Team in the capital city Amman was intense; it was spread out throughout the day with three hours in the morning, a three hour lunch break, and four hours of training in the afternoon for one week. At the end of this demanding week a competition was hosted in which we competed against the Jordanian fencers. While the fencers were sweating in the newly built fencing facility in Amman, the parents got a chance to further explore the capital city of Jordan. In the evenings the whole group went out for dinner in various Restaurants and Cafés in Amman where we got an impression of the city life and Jordanian culture.

Besides demanding training, the group of fencers and parents had a chance to discover the country with exciting trips to historic and vocational sites such as Petra, the Red Sea, the Baptism Site, and the Dead Sea. One of my favorite trips was going to the Dead Sea. We stayed in a hotel right next to the beach which had a buffet, evening entertainment, and multiple pools. The dead sea was amazing, we had to be careful not to get the salty water in our eyes while we were laying on our back floating in the water without moving a part of our body in order to stay floating. This trip was an impressive experience for me as it improved my fencing skills, but also made the bond connecting the IFA community much tighter.

Lena Kunjan