Coach: Fencing prepares students for life

May 20, 2013 (CHICAGO)

Kaihatsu discovered fencing at Maine South High School when he realized he wasn't big enough for football or tall enough for basketball.

"In high school, the third year of fencing, I knew I wanted to be a fencing coach," Kaihatsu said.

His wife, Jean, is also a fencer. Their son, Kenji, and daughter, Anjolie, are already learning. Fencing comes down to strategy, speed, precision, and technique using the epee, foil and sabre.

"Fencing is an independent sport, even though you compete as a team. It's an accumulation of individual bouts, it rules out a lot of team sport players," Kaihatsu said.

After college, a talented fencer might go on to the Olympics. There are World Cup competitions, but for most, the emphasis is on how fencing prepares you for life.

"My purpose in coaching: Make them better students, fencers, friends, in the boardroom, courtroom, operating room," Kaihatsu said.

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