New smart fencing association aims to increase number of fencers(フェンシング人口増へ「スマート」協会設立)

Ryoga Tashiro, left, and Hideyuki Hata practice smart fencing.(スマートフェンシングを実際に行う田代さん(左)と秦さん)

 KAWAMATA, Fukushima - The municipalities of Kawamata in Fukushima Prefecture and Numazu in Shizuoka Prefecture together with Tokyo-based Dai Nippon Printing (DNP) Co. have established a smart fencing association to expand the horizons of the sport by hosting official competitions and hands-on events.


 Smart fencing is a sport invented by DNP employee Tetsuya Amari in 2018 to allow anyone to enjoy fencing safely and casually.
 Players wear conductive jackets and fight with flexible swords made of strong plastic and sponge. A transmitter and sensor are integrated into the sword, and a smartphone app confirms when the tip of the sword makes contact with the jacket and scores a point.


 Amari is the association's representative. Partnering with Satoru Uyama, who won a gold medal in the team epee event at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the association plans to hold lectures and events nationwide to familiarize people with the sport.


 To promote authentic fencing systematically through smart fencing, DNP sought the cooperation of the town of Kawamata and the city of Numazu because they host fencing competitions and engage in community development through the sport. They formed the association on April 10. It aims to hold official and national tournaments in cooperation with businesses and municipalities.
 In Kawamata, smart fencing took place last year at an event hosted by the town's international exchange association. The town plans to prepare a hands-on event this fiscal year, too.


 A town official whom Amari has known since college introduced him to Soei, a local handicraft store. Soei will take care of everything from the development and production of the swords, jackets and other equipment used in competitions to repairs. All work will be done by store owner Eiko Kanno, her husband Mikio and one other person, who make each piece by hand, making sure it is perfect down to the millimeter.
 "I'm proud that a simple local store like ours can engage in the project," Eiko said.


 Kawamata Junior High School's fencing club uses smart fencing to provide experience and training for newcomers.
 "What's good [about smart fencing] is we have fun practicing," said Ryoga Tashiro, a third-year student who leads the club.
 Hideyuki Hata, an adviser to a junior fencing sports club, hopes for an increase in the number of fencers, saying smart fencing can give elementary and junior high school students a smooth introduction to fencing.

( Translated by The Japan News )


 【 2024年4月11日付・福島民友新聞掲載 】