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Andalucía International Fencing Club: Where elegance and strategy meet

Soraya Fernández · Photos: Fran Montes

The Andalucía International Fencing Club teaches this beautiful sport in San Roque and at the Castillo de la Duquesa.

Hollywood has familiarised us with the art of fencing, but few realise just how complex this sport actually is, it is an exercise for body and mind, and is more within our reach than we think.

Andalucia International Fencing Club

Fencing can be learned and practised in San Roque, Campo de Gibraltar. The classes are given by Alberto Zerrada, president and master-at-arms of the Andalucía International Fencing Club, based in San Roque, in a weapons room and a museum dedicated to this sport in the Castillo de la Duquesa, Manilva.

Children can practice this sport from the age of four, but any teenager or adult can start learning at any time. There is no age limit for fencing.

The Andalucía International Fencing Clubc also has many female students. According to the master, women tend to be better at fencing than men: “It’s a sport which girls are very good at. You need to be very smart to succeed at fencing. It is a very intuitive sport and girls do it better than boys, I must admit. They tend to have a better technique and have better reflexes.”

San Roque, Castillo de la Duquesa

It is also an all-round sport: “You work the lower body, because footwork is fundamental, as well as the upper body. It is an aerobic and anaerobic sport, reflexes are very important, you need to react very quickly. It’s like a physical chess. The mind is continuously in very different situations and you should be able to react in a split second. The ability to react and solve problems is fundamental. But it is also a combat sport, we cannot forget that it is a duel.”

Improving Focus

Fencing, castillo de la Duquesa

For adults, practising fencing helps to combat stress and channel aggression. As for children, it improves their reflexes and ability to concentrate.

For Zerrada, it is not an ‘elitist sport’, although it is still not well known: “Fencing is a sport for everyone. Some people think that it is very elitist and only for high class people, it used to be like that, but not anymore.

We have equipment available to anyone who wants to try fencing. We will provide you with all the equipment.”

Fencing, castillo de la Duquesa

Another aspect that stands out are the values that come with this sport: “Fencing has some implicit values: respect, healthy competition, congratulating the winning adversary, courtesy, elegance… These are the values of fencing and that is what we try to maintain.”

This Andalucía International Fencing Club participates in regional and national competitions in different types of fencing: artistic, historical and sport. “Our club has the honour of holding titles as champions of Spain in all three,” says Zerrada proudly.

Alatriste and Viggo Mortensen

Andalucia International Fencing Club

Fencing is also a showman’s sport. It is undoubtedly very visual, and Zerrada also teaches fencing to actors from a performing arts school in Malaga. He has instructed the actor Viggo Mortensen and the team from the film “Alatriste”, based on the literary series of Arturo Pérez-Reverte.

NOTE: Anyone interested in contacting the club can email them at or by calling on
0034 639 35 99 72

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