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Town & Style dubs senior Alexandre Amice a fencing "foil master"

Here's a story from Town & Style Magazine:

Alexandre AmiceWhen most kids were starting basketball or soccer leagues, Priory senior Alexandre Amice was interested in fencing. After seeing a demonstration at school in second grade, Alexandre wanted to try his hand at the sport. It was a good choice. He’s been consistently ranked in the top 20 in his age group in the United States since he started actively competing at age 9 and was just named the junior Midwest Regional Champion for the 2015-2016 season.

“After I told my mom I wanted to try it out, she started looking for coaches,” he says. They found Hossam Hassan, the former National Egyptian coach who qualified his country for the Olympics in 2004. “His club, The Fencers Academy, was the closest to our house and it turns out he was the only competitive coach in town,” Alexandre says. “I still train with him five days a week.”

The 18-year-old maintains a stringent schedule, adding in weight lifting two to three times a week. “I train a minimum of around two hours during the week, and on Saturdays, it’s around four hours,” he says. Each day is a set routine, some focused on fencing and others including footwork and reflex drills, defense/offense strategies and tournament practice. This kind of dedication gets him where he wants to be: last year, he finished 14th in the nation.

Image from Town & StyleThere are three types of weapons in fencing: foil, épée and sabre; Alexandre competes in foil. “I have to hit my target in the torso with the tip of my blade,” he explains. “It’s not illegal to hit off target, but it will stop the match. There are rules governing who has the right of way, who is protected.” In his efforts to explain tournament play and the skills involved, Alexandre notes that the concept is simple, but the application is complicated. Tournaments involve five-touch battles (the first person to reach five wins) until the elimination rounds, which are 15-touch battles.

Alexandre competed for the first time when he was 8, but says he became really competitive by age 9, when he ranked among the top 10 in his age group. “I was bigger than most kids, which made me pretty good,” he says. “As you get older, it becomes more competitive. In the 15 and under category, people fight to get in the top three because that’s how you compete in the World Championship tournament.”

Both national and international tournaments affect U.S. rankings. “I fence in one national tournament a month between October and February, which are all over the country,” Alexandre says. Certain international tournaments are designated to affect national standings, and he has traveled to France and Italy for two of them. Alexandre competes in the 20 and under category and the Seniors division, which is reserved for players of any age who meet a minimum rating. “You have to be in at least the C category, and I compete in A, the highest category,” he says. “The top three players in the Seniors division make the Olympic team, so technically I’ve fenced in the Olympic trials.”

With all of his rankings and success, there is a simple reason Alexandre stuck with the sport: it’s fun, he says. “I love the speed. You have to be focused and very disciplined. If you’re not, someone who isn’t as good can make you look ridiculous.”

Alexandre makes sure to note that his success would not have been possible without the support of his coach and the Priory community. He will continue his battles at the University of Pennsylvania, where he will join the fencing team this fall.

“Listen carefully, my son, to the master’s instructions, and attend to them with the ear of your heart.”

Prologue, 1

“This is advice from a father who loves you; welcome it, and faithfully put it into practice.”

Prologue, 1

“First of all, every time you begin a good work, you must pray to him most earnestly to bring it to perfection.”

Prologue, 4

“If you desire true and eternal life, keep your tongue free from vicious talk and your lips from all deceit; turn away from evil and do good; let peace be your quest and aim. (Ps 33[34]:13)”

Prologue, 17

“Clothed then with faith and the performance of good works, let us set out on this way, with the Gospel for our guide, that we may deserve to see him who has called us to his kingdom (1 Thess 2:12).”

Prologue, 21

“If we wish to dwell in the tent of this kingdom, we will never arrive unless we run there by doing good deeds.”

Prologue, 22

“What is not possible to us by nature, let us ask the Lord to supply by the help of his grace.”

Prologue, 41

“Therefore, we intend to establish a school for the Lord’s service.”

Prologue, 45

“The good of all concerned, however, may prompt us to a little strictness in order to amend faults and to safeguard love.”

Prologue, 47

“The reason why we have said all should be called for counsel is that the Lord often reveals what is better to the younger.”

Chapter 3, 3

“Your way of acting should be different from the world’s way; the love of Christ must come before all else.”

Chapter 4, 20-21

“Never give a hollow greeting of peace or turn away when someone needs your love.” –Chapter 4, 25-26

“Bind yourself to no oath lest it prove false, but speak the truth with heart and tongue.”

Chapter 4, 27-28

“Place your hope in God alone.”

Chapter 4, 41

“Respect the elders and love the young.”

Chapter 4, 70-71

“Pray for your enemies out of love for Christ. “

Chapter 4, 72

“If you have a dispute with someone, make peace with him before the sun goes down.”

Chapter 4, 73

“The first step of humility is unhesitating obedience, which comes naturally to those who cherish Christ above all.”

Chapter 5, 1-2

“Speaking and teaching are the master’s task; the disciple is to be silent and listen.”

Chapter 6, 6

“The first step of humility, then, is that a man keeps the fear of God always before his eyes (PS 35[36]:2) and never forgets it.”

Chapter 7, 10

“Let us consider, then, how we ought to behave in the presence of God and his angels, and let us stand to sing the psalms in such a way that our minds are in harmony with our voices.”

Chapter 19, 6-7

“On arising for the Work of God, they will quietly encourage each other, for the sleepy like to make excuses.”

Chapter 22, 8

“Every age and level of understanding should receive appropriate treatment.”

Chapter 30, 1

“Above all, let him be humble. If goods are not available to meet a request, he will offer a kind word in reply, for it is written: A kind word is better than the best gift (Sir 18:17).”

Chapter 31, 13-14

“Let all the rest serve one another in love.”

Chapter 35, 6

“Indeed, nothing is to be preferred to the Work of God.”

Chapter 43, 3

“Idleness is the enemy of the soul. Therefore, the brothers should have specified periods for manual labor as well as for prayerful reading.”

Chapter 48, 1

“The life of a monk ought to be a continuous Lent.”

Chapter 49, 1

“All guests who present themselves are to be welcomed as Christ, for he himself will say: I was a stranger and you welcomed me (Matt 25:35).”

Chapter 53, 1

“Proper honor must be shown to all, especially to those who share our faith (Gal 6:10) and to pilgrims.”

Chapter 53, 2

“(B)ecause wherever we may be, we are in the service of the same Lord and doing battle for the same King.”

Chapter 61, 10

They should each try to be the first to show respect to the other (Rom 12:10).”

Chapter 63, 17

“We wish this rule to be read often in the community, so that none of the brothers can offer the excuse of ignorance.”

Chapter 66, 8

“Trusting in God’s help, he must in love obey.”

Chapter 68, 5

Never to do another what you do not want done to yourself (Tob 4:16).”

Chapter 70, 7

“No one is to pursue what he judges better for himself, but instead, what he judges better for someone else.”

Chapter 72, 7

“Let them prefer nothing whatever to Christ, and may he bring us all together to everlasting life.”

Chapter 72, 11-12

“What page, what passage of the inspired books of the Old and New Testaments is not the truest of guides for human life?”

Chapter 73, 3

“What book of the holy catholic Fathers does not resoundingly summon us along the true way to reach the Creator?”

Chapter 73, 4


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