Manhattan Fencing Company, a world class fencing club, was founded in 2007 by U.S. Fencing Hall of Fame Maestro Yury Gelman. With a successful location in Manhattan, the club recently opened another location in Englewood, NJ.
Conveniently located at 84 Honeck Street, Manhattan Fencing offers private lessons, group lessons, and camps for ages 4 and up. Yury shared that his oldest personal student was 84, and he only stopped fencing due to a car accident. “Fencing is unique because we are one of the few sports where there are various age levels for championships. Adults come to us as well as very young people – it can be a lifelong sport,” Yury said.
Yury is a lifelong fencer himself, and started his fencing career in his hometown of Kiev, Ukraine. He was a national coach for Ukraine, and graduated from the Kiev Ukranian Academy of Sport. In 1991, he emigrated to the United States and began an impressive coaching career here. He coached the U.S. Olympic team, with his students winning 6 Olympic medals and countless other medals from Junior, Senior, and World Championships. “All of our coaches have excellent education from European countries. Unfortunately the U.S. doesn’t have a lot of education in sports like fencing,” shared Yury. “Our system produces champions. We serve our community in NY pretty well, which is why we decided to extend to NJ.”
Yury encourages families to start their children in fencing early, as the sport is a great addition to a college resume. “Every American university has a fencing team, so parents send their kids to us and the fencing helps a lot,” said Yury. “If you’re a good fencer and you have good grades, the chances of getting into an Ivy league or a great school are high. We are then the number one club in the country for college placement into highly selective universities.”
Yury’s favorite part of his job is working with children – he really enjoys teaching life lessons through fencing. “Fencing teaches discipline, motivation, and a lot of thinking and understanding about what life is. I like to say, ‘Fencing is life and life is fencing.’ I like to see someone come in at a young age, grow into an adult, graduate, and become successful in their field,” Yury said.
As a family business, Yury’s daughter Julia is heavily involved in running the club. Julia and Yury have over 70 years of combined fencing experience. Julia fenced at the collegiate level and has won many competitions over the years, so her knowledge of the sport is an excellent asset to the business. His wife helps behind the scenes as well, doing a lot of the accounting for the business. “We are truly a small family business operation,” Julia shared.
Originally written by: Britney Triana