Chicago

Focus, fortitude household: Bronzeville club wants to introduce Chicago kids to sport of fencing

CHICAGO — Focus, fortitude, and household. The Bronzeville Fencing Academy is on a mission to introduce extra Chicago youngsters to the sport of fencing.

25-year-old Auset Muhammad is a aggressive fencer.

“I am very competitive,” she mentioned. “I love competing. … Being within the arena and you’re competing with other people of similar skills that love the sport just as much as you do, it’s something that’s really hard to explain.”

Her father Malcolm Muhammad launched her to fencing as a small little one after she excelled in martial arts.

“It’s a beautiful sport,” he mentioned. “Of course when I asked her if she wanted to be involved in fencing, asked if she wanted to look at some clips, she thought we were going to go around the community and build fences.”

“I just saw it (and) I’m like, ‘Oh my God that’s so cool,’” Auset Muhammad mentioned. “I decided I wanted to try it out. From there I guess the rest is history.”

She’s competed on the nationwide stage and obtained a scholarship to Temple University.

And fencing has grow to be a household affair.

Her brother is a licensed fencing referee and her dad and mom run the Bronzeville Fencing Academy. They are on a mission to carry fencing to extra younger folks on Chicago’s South Side.

“I just want them to think out of the box. This is an out of the box endeavor,” Malcolm Muhammad mentioned.

Auset Muhammad mentioned fencing is extra common on the East Coast however when she was competing within the Midwest, she didn’t see many faces that regarded like hers. She wants that to change.

“It’s really hard to try and see yourself within the fencing world if you’re one of one essentially,” she mentioned.

“And it was tough but she had a good solid family,” Malcolm Muhammad mentioned. “I was always there, every practice, every tournament. … Fencing became our thing as a family. And that was kind of the motivation and drive. Yes she’s the only black child out there many times.  And of course she got some great receptions and sometimes she didn’t, but the bad receptions we use as motivation.”

The academy trains aggressive athletes constructing endurance and self-discipline. They additionally work with CPS and the Chicago Park District to give kids entry to the expensive sport.

“Regardless of your background, economic, social, whatever, regardless of where you’re coming from when you walk through that door you’re considered family,” Auset Muhammad mentioned.

They need them to channel their fears into fierce competitors.

“It’s kind of like what I have on the wall when they come in and out every day,” Malcolm Muhammad mentioned. “To overcome your fears. That’s my biggest objective. Fear can do a lot of things. Basically it stifles you.”

And Auset Muhammad is taking small steps in the direction of her large dream. While she nonetheless serves as a coach on the academy she took a while away from competing and lived and labored in Philadelphia with one aim in thoughts: The 2028 Olympics

“That two years was really to work every day, every night, to make sure I had everything set up from a financial standpoint and support … So two years from now, I can be back on the strip, back in my whites competing full time (and) essentially enjoying the sport that I love,” she mentioned.

“I look forward to her future. We’re just beginning,”  Malcolm Muhammad mentioned.

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