Kathryn Schifferle, 56
As she lunges and parries in the signature white jacket and metallic vest worn by competitive foil fencers worldwide, Kathy Schifferle still marvels at how, eight years ago, she fell in love with the sport at “the ripe old age,” she says, of 48.
Taking her then-15-year-old daughter to fencing practices, Schifferle became enchanted with the beauty and physicality of the fencers moves. “The upper and lower parts of the body are doing different thingslike ballet and boxingat the same time,” she says.
The marketing consultant was also drawn to the intellectual challenge. “Fencings called physical chess. Its very strategic,” Schifferle says.
She joined her daughters class, which met two to three times a week, and also joined Jenny Craig. A year-and-a-half later, shed lost 70 pounds. She now fences once or twice a week and works out on a treadmill and stair-climber the other days. But shes as proud of her lightning-fast reflexes as she is of her well-defined arms and tight backside. “If I drop a glassor even if someone else doesI catch it before it hits the floor,” Schifferle says. “I feel amazingly more confident and competent.” She adds, “Regular exercise was boring. But I laugh a lot when I fence. It could intrigue me for the rest of my life.”