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Forced relocation fails to disarm fencing center

There was little warning. One day everything was fine, and the next he was told he had 60 days to vacate the premises.

For business owner Frank Van Dyke, owner of Red Rock Fencing Center, this was a scenario that played out for him this year when he was booted from a facility that had housed his business for more than seven years because it was being foreclosed upon.

"What I learned from that was that tenants have no rights in the state of Nevada," he said. "But life goes on. You do the best you can, and I'm kind of happy that it happened now. We've moved on to something better so far as I'm concerned."

In early March, Van Dyke, a fencing champion, moved his business from Arville Street and Hacienda Avenue to the new location at 5075 Cameron St.

"I'm a firm believer in the idea that if one door closes, another one opens," Van Dyke said. "Besides, we are able to do more with this space."

Van Dyke said the new facility has video-streaming capabilities, which will come in handy for broadcasting competitions over the Internet.

The center offers classes in three types of fencing: foil, saber and epee.

The differences in the styles are significant, Van Dyke said.

In foil , competitors aim only for vital areas of the torso; epee focuses on the entire body; and saber teaches the student to focus on hitting marks above the waist only. Two of the three have right-of-way rules when it comes to attacking, but epee is a free-for-all format.

Van Dyke said the center offers classes for adults and children as young as 4.

"Kids that young get one-on-one sessions with me," he said. "I want them to succeed and learn, and I've found that a large class of young children is counterproductive. Having 10 4-year-olds in one class is like trying to chase kittens. It doesn't work."

Van Dyke said children practice with plastic blades.

"I want them to not be afraid," he said.

Adult classes are offered throughout the week and are relatively small in size, with six to 12 people, Van Dyke said.

Las Vegas resident Tara Kincaid recently began taking classes at the center and said she has been impressed with the professionalism and skill level of the instructors.

"I've been really happy with what I'm learning," she said.

Van Dyke said people get involved with fencing for various reasons. Some want to compete. Some want to learn something new. Some just want to get in better shape.

"Fencing is very aerobic," he said. "You come in here, you're going to get a work out."

Van Dyke said that while he comes from a competitive fencing background, the center isn't focused solely on competitions.

"If you want to do that, we are behind you; we can prepare you and help you along your way," he said. "But if you only want to have fun, we can be that place for you, too.

"I think too many centers take themselves too seriously. There should be a fun and a passion for this sport I think is missing too many times."

For $120 per month, people can take as many classes per week as they wish, Van Dyke said.

"If you want to learn foil and saber at the same time, you can," he said.

Beginner classes provide fencing gear, which Van Dyke said is a load off of many parents' shoulders.

"Your kid gets involved with something new, and you have to buy them all this gear, and what happens when they want to quit in two months ?" he said. "You end up stuck with this stuff you can't use but you paid a fortune for. We take the pressure off with that."

Contact Southwest and Spring Valley View reporter Amanda Llewellyn at or 380-4535.