With a father as one of the top fencing coaches in the country, one would think Igor Gantsevich's foray into the field would be as easy as following in his dad's footsteps.
However, his passion for the sport was a little more complicated - more of a slow boil while he focused on becoming one of Richmond's top tennis players.
Victor Gantsevich would often pick up his son from tennis practice and take him along to various fencing clubs where he coached.
Loitering on the sidelines, the younger Gantsevich would suppress boredom by picking up a foil and playing around, or accepting a friendly challenge from one of the adults.
"I didn't like it as a kid because we didn't have many kids fencing back then," said the 24-year-old Richmond resident. "I found it quite boring because I was always fencing against adults and getting creamed."
Little did he know that these friendly games would take him to a national championship in New Brunswick, without any private fencing lessons.
"When he was about 12 or 13, he decided he wanted to compete in New Brunswick," said his father. "He ended up placing bronze."
And just like that, Gantsevich's first passion, tennis, was dropped and fencing picked up. He's now on the senior national team and has placed in championships across the globe, including the Pan Am Games and the World Cup.
Now the duo, which runs the Richmond-based Dynamo Fencing Club, has helped bring an international fencing tournament to the Richmond Olympic Oval next weekend (March 22 and March 23).
The Vancouver International Fencing Grand Prix is one of the main events on the international circuit, where competitors will eventually use the points gained here and in other events to compete in the 2013 World Fencing Championships in Budapest.
Fencing currently enjoys a slow rise in North America, though not yet comparable to European or Asian standards.
The tournament is expected to attract more than 100 competitors and more than 2,000 people, according to Aran Kay, program manager, marketing and communications at the oval.
It's a dream Victor Gantsevich has had since he came to Richmond in 1996 and set up a training facility in his basement. Now, he and his son run one of the largest fencing clubs, with about 200 members, in Canada, along with two other coaches.
"Fencing is a sport that will teach you life, how to react, how to be in stressful situations," said the younger Gantsevich, who, due to a wrist surgery, won't be competing.
"I don't ever feel that I'm at work because I'm doing something I love. My biggest passion is working with the kids and paying back to the community."