Hilo’s Fencing Club thanks to Aren Worley
I never knew that Hilo had a Fencing Club until I ran into Aren Worley who started up the Hawaii Island Fencing Association in January of 2011.
“Actually Hawaii Island Fencing started as a class through Hawaii Community College and the group continued to meet after the class at HCC was cancelled,” Worley said. “I discovered the group while looking through the community calendar in the newspaper and through myself into the sport with a passion.”
Worley said that he started fencing because he was looking for a new way to be more active and fencing became part of his New Year’s Resolution which was to stick with it for a year.
“This means I now have 22 months of experience,” Worley said. “It helped that the first month of fencing practice was a great adrenaline rush,” he said. “The idea and practices of fighting someone with swords, trying to stab my opponent and trying not to be stabbed is what gets my juices flowing.”
Worley admits to feeling giddy while he was learning.
“I understand a great combination of martial arts might not be for everyone, but I was hooked,” Worley said. “It is the need to control or train my ‘mindless’ reactions to being threatened in a specific ways. These things in my opinion make fencing into pure unadulterated fun.”
Worley was quite active in his youth playing AYSO soccer and backpacking through the more remote areas on the Big Island as well the occasional pickup games of volleyball at parties.
“For my own purposes I took up fencing because I was looking for an active hobby,” he said. “In many ways I benefit from an active working lifestyle.”
What Worley does is work on his family farm where they grow heart of palm and various tropical flowers.
“Harvesting palms, planting plants, in a surprising amount, and weeding are all pretty physically intense,” he said. “Some days can be stressful with harvesting, packing and meeting the weekly quotas.”
Worley also works as a technology assistant at Waiakea Intermediate School and going between jobs could be a little stressful but he doesn’t allow it to become that.
“Shifting back and forth can be a little hectic but I’ve never found it to be stressful,” Worley said.
Worley dabbled in weight lifting and jogging but he could never get himself committed to that regimen. He became more disciplined when he spent a year abroad to work on his master’s degree.
“While working with computers and not having a physical outlet of working on a farm I definitely started craving something to make me sweat,” Worley said. “I was better going to the gym while I was a student, I wasn’t out to be a body builder I was just looking for a great workout that would make me feel like I used my body.”
During that year while in graduate school Worley lost 20 pounds.
“Part of it was my diet, as a starving student I didn’t go out much, I cooked my own simple meals of broccoli, pasta and tuna sandwiches and avoided the more costly meals.”
For Worley, those 20 pounds that he lost was mainly muscle and he found himself weak in comparison through what he had done in farm work and that became a realization of how important physical exercise was important to him.
“I tried to rationalize my craving for physical activity with a nod to my health,” Worley said. “I have now entered into my thirties and decided to try and shave off a few more pounds. My vanity makes me want to look good naked, but as of today I haven’t achieved that.”
Worley is a big guy standing 6’4” and hovers around 220 pounds.
“I try to watch what I eat and I benefit from farm grown produce and eggs,” he said. “I try to eat slowly and don’t let myself go back for more; I try to control my volume.”
Worley never eats candy after 2 p.m. and he is fortunate that he never had a craving for deserts.
“I don’t really restrict quality of my foods as I love burgers and plate lunches just as much as the next guy,” Worley said. “I have started ordering the mini plates instead of the full meal.”
Worley realizes that to accomplish his goals he needs to develop a better training pattern.
“I will need to start running which I find terribly boring,” he said. “I will also jump rope because it is good for my fencing foot work. It involves a lot of balance, staying and bouncing on the balls of your feet with very quick direction changes.”
For Worley, fencing has become his core workout that he focuses his exercises around.
“I still maintain my do something physical a day rule. I took up paddling in hopes that it would give me a fun way to improve my cardiovascular capabilities, “Worley said. “It helps but it feels more like a fun upper body work out where as in fencing it is primarily a lower body workout.”
Worley’s weekly routine goes something like this, Sunday he works on the farm for 4 hours of physical labor. Monday its paddling, Tuesday its harvest all day and has fencing classes in the evening for four hours. Wednesday he paddles and goes to the gym in the early evening. Thursday he will do farm work and fence again for four hours. Friday its paddling and tries to get in a gym workout. Saturday is his fun day of his choice.
Worley is a hard working young man which is a great addition to our East Hawaii community and if you would like to learn more about getting involved with his fencing club you can go to www.hawaiifencers.org.
And some day should you happen to see a lifelong learner discovering many of the interesting people in our community remember to say “woof” and never shy away from “Running with the Big Dog.”