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Students Learn Focus, Discipline Through Swordsmanship Classes

// News // DC // VA

VERONA, Va. -- Kindergarten students at one local elementary school are getting a chance to try their hands at a medieval art.

The swords are made of foam and tape, so there aren't any safety concerns.

This is part of a gym class that all started when a group of teachers applied for a grant.

A professor from Bridgewater College, who has a Renaissance swordsmanship class and club got together with a teacher at Stuart Hall school.

Timothy David Lane and Gavin Lawson are teaching kindergarteners more than how to hold or play with swords.

"You have to learn to focus, you have to pay attention and listen, you have to be willing to work at something even though it's difficult at first," said Lawson.

The six week class also involves math for students, like Mary Blair Tankard, in Debbie Patterson's class.

"We're making a chain mail and we are trying to get 25 in a row and we need to make them go the right direction," said Tankard.

From making a piece of chain mail armor, to practicing formations, it's a way to help kids be active.

"The idea behind that is to teach them how to work together as a team in a formation, to be able to listen well and coordinate their movements," said Lane.

Lane said the unconventional class has received good feedback from parents, who share that their kids come home wanting to practice with their swords.

Lane knows the kids like it too because he's heard from his biggest fan, his son who is in the class.

"Mornings when we do this it is the easiest to get him up and out of bed, he is really excited," said Lane.

In the middle of that disciplined lesson, it's apparent that the students are enjoying it.

"We get to use swords and we get to do cuts and stuff and it's really fun," said Tankard.

They have two weeks to go with the class, and at the end the students will have a presentation for their parents to show what they've learned.

Stuart Hall school will also be getting high school students involved since the program is so popular.

They plan to have a summer camp for teenagers this year.

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