The masks – though essential – look kind of silly, and something about running up and down with those thin little swords (sorry, foils), looks a bit effeminate.

After trying out a four-week course at Fighting Fit Fencing, one of the only studios in London dedicated fully to the art, we quickly changed our tune.

Make no mistake, fencing is an excellent workout, one that requires brains as well as brawn (and an ample amount of dexterity to boot).

The sport requires lots of lunging and shuffling, and three matches in a row will wind you (or, at least, it winded us).

The following day, prepare for the surprise of sore muscles you didn’t even know you were using.

Participants learn the (surprisingly complex) rules, the lingo and some nifty tactics.

Though the idea of opening oneself up to a charging partner with a pointy stick may seem, well, unwise, rest assured, the sport is completely safe.

Don’t worry about investing in your own kit – Fighting Fit provides it free of charge.

Four-week courses (comprising a one-hour lesson a week) are £85.  

2 Cottage Road, N7 8TP  
Tube | Caledonian Road