Sword fighting and duels with different weapons have been around for thousands of years. Modern fencing has roots in Spain, where the first manual was written in the 1400s, and Germany, where fencing guilds were organized by the masters. In the 1800s, fencing moved away from military training as British, Italian, and French fencing schools taught aristocrats the art of swordsmanship. As participants began using the “foil” (a weapon with a flattened tip), rules regarding the target area, and the wire-mesh mask, fencing as a sport became both safe and more popular.
In 1896, fencing debuted in the Olympic games in Athens. Women’s fencing entered the Games in Paris in 1924, and has been gaining in popularity ever since. This year marks another milestone in the fencing world: Ibtihaj Muhammad, the first Muslim woman who observes hijab is now a member of the United States Olympic Fencing Team!
Ibtihaj Muhammad was born in New Jersey in 1985, and always was an athletic girl growing up. As she dabbled in sports, most required her to wear clothing that was too revealing. Her parents searched for a sport that would allow her to dress modestly, and stay true to her Muslim faith, while still challenging her athletically. At age 13 she began fencing.
Welcome to our Olympics for Kids series! The Olympics are a wonderful opportunity to teach kids about the world and explore cultures together.
Today, you can find more about other sports/games from various countries thanks to our participating bloggers:
Exploring Indonesian Badminton – Multicultural Kid Blogs
Popular Summer Sports in USSR – Creative World of Varya
Handball, France and the Olympics – Lou Messugo
Capoeira: a martial art with a great beat – Brynn in Brazil
The big 3: soccer, rugby, cricket – Globe Trottin’ Kids
Copa América: We Are the Champions – La clase de Sra. DuFault
Football in the Netherlands: The Men in Orange – Expat Life with a Double Buggy
Summer sports in Latvia – Let the Journey Begin
Valuable Lessons From The Olympic Sports to Kids – Hispanic Mama
Fencing with Ibtihaj Muhammad – Kid World Citizen
Puerto Rican Olympians – Discovering the World Through my Son’s Eyes
Don’t forget that you can also download our Summer Games Unit activity pack to learn more about the world and have fun during the Olympics.