SECA Fencing Academy: Chinese Culture vs. Culture in China

One of the great pleasures I had in going to China, specifically Hong Kong and Shanghai, was to visit a brand new fencing academy in Shanghai called the SECA Fencing Academy.

Entering the environment, I was immediately impressed by the pulse and energy that was literally bouncing off the walls. To see miniature warriors, dressed in full fencing regalia, donning protective masks with mesh netting and epees, lunging and retreating along defined dueling strips while twisting and turning parents urge on their kids in battle was most fascinating.

And then, away from the competitive line and without their combat helmets, young sweet kids chatting, running, laughing with each other as if it was just another day on the playground. I almost wondered where the swing set was.

Yet, there is something much bigger going on here. Sean Mei, Director and one of the visionaries of SECA Fencing Academy, is expanding lives and awareness of this pint-sized army through the focus and skill of the age-old art of competitive fencing. Borne from a desire to support his own son’s ability to express himself and build confidence, Mei and his team have created a vehicle where children may test their nerves, coordination and resolve to engage in a sport, most individual and cultured.

And my goodness, the children have come to play. The demand is growing dramatically. So much so that the folks at SECA are creating a second location for the SECA Fencing Academy that will dwarf the current operation and play host to two other "wealthy man's" sports in squash and crew.

But why such affluent sports? Long known as mathematical wizards, Chinese kids were drilled to know intellect from the neck up. Today, the game is changing and with access to a global marketplace, the focus is expanding to educate children to be much more well-rounded so that they may better interact with their peers in every country.

As understanding the appreciation for fine wines captured the attention of the wealthy parents a few years ago that now transcends into the art of gemology, parents want their children to understand the culture that is available to them and fencing is a brilliant approach.

If you consider how fencing has assisted Mr. Mei’s son in school and life by increasing his focus, dedication and concentration, and how both his combined fencing background and academic success are helping him with college applications to some of the top universities in the United States, it’s no wonder why Chinese parents want their children to experience the joys of the world for their personal growth and also their worldly pursuits. Perhaps we may wish to learn a lesson from our Asian friends and rediscover a long available art and skill for our children before we’re out-dueled in our world environment.

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