Fencing champ inspires students

Tedd Padgitt never thought he'd be able to make a living around his passion, fencing, but every morning he shows up at his 5,600-square-foot facility in Sorrento Valley, determined to inspire and motivate his students.

A San Diego native and now a resident of La Jolla, Padgitt, 30, began fencing when he was 12. His original intent was to secure the role of Romeo in a school production by excelling at swordplay, but he soon traded in his acting aspirations to compete in national fencing competitions.

One of the top 32 fencers in the country, Padgitt's honors include the 2005 Pacific Coast Foil Champion, overall foil points title holder in 2005 and 2006, and achieving top 20 in the collegiate nation.

After graduating from UCSD, Padgitt began giving private fencing lessons.

He soon expanded to after-school lessons at local schools and recreation centers.

"Turned out that the kids loved it," he said.

Team Touche Fencing was founded four years ago, and Padgitt opened his Sorrento Valley facility about a year and a half later. His staff includes nine instructors.

Students range in age from 5 to almost 70. He offers group, private and family lessons in foil, epee and sabre. He utilizes storytelling to connect with this younger students, an approach that encourages them to practice technical fencing moves.

"I love to use children's vivid imaginations to teach them to fence," he said. "Often in class, we pretend to battle aliens from Mars or chicken monsters from 10 million BC."

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