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Sport Of Fencing Comes To Riverbank
The romantic, gentleman's sport of fencing has arrived. Fencing classes are now available at the Riverbank Community Center, 3600 Santa Fe, on Thursdays, from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Zoran Djurisic and his wife Maja are certified fencing coaches and nationally rated referees. Certified by the United States Fencing Coaches Association (USFCA), the Djurisic's teach a beginners class for all ages and provide all the necessary fencing equipment for class use. The only request they have is that you come in comfortable clothing, like athletic pants, a T-shirt, and sneakers.

If you would like an introduction to fencing, they offer your first class for free.

"We believe that most of the sports, especially those that you don't see often are really difficult to describe and it is much easier to experience them for once," said Djurisic.

Anyone can attend the first class as a guest and they will participate in everything the class is doing, except fencing on the strip, which requires more training. He also expressed that fencing is a workout and helps with agility, coordination, and focus.

"Fencing as physical as it looks, fencing is primarily a thinking sport," stated Djurisic.

Fencing is also an Olympic sport. In the beginning, fencing was included in the 1896 Games in Athens, and still remains on the Olympic program.

The fencing adventure started 15 years ago for Zoran Djurisic. As a graduate student at the University of Utah, in Salt Lake City, he joined the fencing club and has loved it ever since.

Djurisic's love for fencing led him to competitions and refereeing. He has been a competitive fencer for several years and still competes on occasion. A few of the competitions he has been in are the Bay Cup, Pacific Coast Championship, and the North American Cup. After competing for several years, he decided to work with the United States Fencing Association and became a referee.

"We are both competitive fencers, but we don't compete as often as we used to," Djurisic said of he and his wife.

Besides teaching students the art of fencing, coach Djurisic works as a consultant for air quality projects and for large scale data systems. He has a doctorate in chemical and fuels engineering.

The husband and wife Djurisic team expressed that they really enjoy spending most of their time coaching children and adults in fencing.

Maja started fencing a few years ago after watching a competition that Djurisic was refereeing. The excitement and energy from the competition really sparked her interest in fencing, she explained, so she also pursued it as a competitor and became certified by the USFCA. Otherwise, Maja is an artist and creates artwork for clients, when she is not fencing. She also has a master's degree in Architecture.

The Djurisic's are originally from Serbia, and they have lived in several different places throughout the United States. They ended up in Stockton because of a career opportunity. The couple started teaching fencing classes in 2010 at the Delta Fencing Center in Stockton.

The classes have gotten bigger and the request for training has expanded to Riverbank and Tracy. They have had students drive to Stockton from Modesto and Escalon to attend their fencing class.

"Parents will do quite a bit," said Djurisic. "We were surprised in some cases, how far parents will go for something their kids really like."

The drive for the students in the Modesto and Escalon areas will have a shorter trip since they are now holding classes at the Riverbank Community Center.

"The sense of community is really nice, this is one of the things that we like, as opposed to a large city," Djuirisic added about the Riverbank community.

He also expressed how great the Riverbank Community Center is for his fencing class. The ceiling is high enough to ensure that when one of the students parries, they won't scrape the ceiling.

The parry is the defensive action made with the weapon to prevent an offensive action. Djuirisic also added that the lighting in the community center is really good and there is enough space to accommodate a large class.

Fencing has been seen on television and in several Hollywood movies, he noted, like the Pirates of the Caribbean, the Princess Bride, and Star Wars - although with light sabers in that series of films.

"Fencing somehow fascinates people," said Djurisic, who added that everyone, from young to old, can enjoy and benefit from the sport.

For more information regarding the Riverbank class or to sign up, contact Kerrie Webb at (209) 863-7149 or email

For more information regarding fencing, call (209) 244-5836 or email