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Misha Mokretsov, 30, is head coach and owner of the New York Fencing Academy on West 12th Street in Coney Island. He first came to the U.S. in 2006, on an academic/athletic scholarship to St. John’s University, where he was captain of the fencing team. Mokretsov talks about his fencing career, which began in his native city Khmelnitsky, Ukraine, at age 12. He became Ukrainian National Championships runner-up in 2005 and competed in numerous cadet and junior World Cups and European Championships.
Mokretsov says that fencing is an intellectual sport as well as a physical sport, making it a popular choice of parents and one of the fastest growing sports in the U.S. Among his fencing academy’s first students were the children of Russian and Ukrainian immigrants who had fenced in their youth. Founded in 2010, the New York Fencing Academy has trained nationally top-ranked fencers in every age group and is the strongest club in New York City for épée, the largest and heaviest of the three swords used in sport fencing. When weather permits, the fencing students do physical conditioning on Coney Island’s beach.
This program is part of the Cultural Immigrant Initiative supported, in part, by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and New York City Councilman Mark Treyger.