There are few workouts as demanding as a 90-minute fencing class with Bruce Sikes, a U.S. Fencing Association (USFA)-certified instructor who offers beginning and advanced lessons around the St. Louis area. Trained at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Sikes gently leads his beginning students through the basics of this 1,000-year-old sport and into the more advanced stages of the artistic duel. Sikes -- chairman of the USFA St. Louis Division -- can teach anyone -- female or male, teen or senior, using the epée, foil or saber -- to fence. The courses are held at places like the Webster Groves Recreation Complex, Washington University and the Family Life Center at Dorsett Village Baptist Church. They generally run eight to 10 weeks, and all equipment is provided. Once students make it through the basic course, Sikes helps them enter the world of competition and to work out with more experienced fencers at the Washington University Fencing Club and the Parkway Fencing Club. For more information on upcoming classes, visit his Web site, members.aol.com/SikesAFA/index.html
, or call 314-918-7560.