Today we’d like to introduce you to Emilia Ivanova.
Hi Emilia, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstory with our readers?
I am the Head coach at Heartland Fencing Academy in Overland Park, KS. I started the academy in 2007, and since then we have been teaching the Olympic sport of fencing to students of all ages and skill levels.
We are proud of our success and ability to introduce fencing to many students in the Greater Kansas City metro area.
I graduated from the National Sports Academy “Vasil Levski” in Sofia, Bulgaria, with two majors in Physical Therapy (Kinesitherapy) and Physical Education.
After competing and fencing nationally and internationally for 17 years, I decided to put my time and skills into my passion for teaching fencing. As a fencer, I was seven times National Foil champion and Silver medalist at the European Championship. Initially, I was working with the Juniors program in my club, but after four years I was selected to work with the Bulgarian National Foil Team.
Some of our biggest successes were Top 8 at the World Championship in Netherlands 1994, and two of my female foil fencers qualified for the Olympic Games in Atlanta 1996. This was the first time in the long history of Bulgarian fencing when two female Foil fencers qualified for the Olympic games.
In the Summer of 2000, I moved to the USA, and since then, I have been coaching here. I have also refereed for many years at the National and NCAA Fencing Championships.
I am proud to say that Heartland Fencing Academy is well known nationally and our students are holders of many Regional, North American Cup, Junior Olympics, the USFA Summer National Championship, and competed at World Cup in Europe. Many of our fencers have earned scholarships to prestigious schools such as Princeton, Harvard, Stanford, Ohio State, UPenn, Wayne State, Cleveland State, where they continue to fence.
HFA fencers are NCAA and Ivy League Fencing Champions.
Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
It is neither easy nor smooth to move to a new country with a new language and culture. In the beginning, the challenge was to adjust to the new place that I was going to work and live. Later on, when I open the Heartland Fencing Academy came to the challenge to deal with the business side of it. Nowadays, we are learning how to survive and thrive in the difficult time we all are leaving. Despite all the challenges, I consider myself lucky to have so much support from my family, friends, and the USA fencing community.
We’ve been impressed with Heartland Fencing Academy, but for folks who might not be as familiar, what can you share with them about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
During my long fencing career as a competitor and a coach, I have learned many valuable lessons that I carry through life with me. The most important is that when you work hard, be motivated, and passionate about what you do, you can achieve a lot. Fencing is a highly competitive and complex sport that you must be able to make a quick decision under pressure during the competition. Learning to deal with success and failure taught me humility and appreciation of all I have experience.
Dear HFA Fencers,
HFA Open on Saturday, May 23rd.
1. Only fencers are allowed at the club during classes.
Parents, please wait outside during the class and observe through the windows.
2. Parents, please drop and pick up the students on time for class/individual lessons.
3. All fencers are recommended to have own fencing mask, glove, and jacket.
For fencers who do not have own fencing gears, we will still provide it. We are prepared to keep all our share equipment sanitized daily.
4. Enter the club wearing fencing pants (warm-up pants) and clean fencing shoes. We are trying to limit the gathering and time for changing in the bathrooms.
5. Wash/disinfect your hands upon entering the club.
6. Do not come to practice if you are sick.
We are looking forward to see you all back at HFA!Read More
Dear fencing friends,
We are currently all living in challenging and unprecedented times. As you may know, businesses around the country have closed due to the pandemic. Small businesses especially have suffered great revenue losses- small businesses like ours.
Heartland Fencing Academy (HFA) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation that promotes the sport of fencing to individuals of all ages and backgrounds. Through formalized instruction, we foster in our students the highest level of sportsmanship, self-esteem, and fitness, with the primary purpose of having fun. Over the past thirteen years, HFA has pursued this mission by providing classes for all ages and levels, demonstrations, tournaments, camps, and high-level training of a competitive fencing team.
We are home to more than 100 fencers from all over the metro area, ranging in ages from 4 years old to adults. Our facility and instruction have helped build a team that has competed across the nation and around the world. HFA has even supported many of our fencers in their successful applications to attend some of the best colleges in the nations, including Harvard, Princeton, Stanford, Ohio State and many more. There, some of our fencers have gotten top educations while also competing at the highest level on NCAA fencing teams. Our students are holders of numerous, national medals, and recognized as some of the best fencers in the USA.
Due to the current situation, Heartland Fencing Academy paused its operations on March 18th, and we are uncertain when we will be able to reopen again. We want to be there to serve you again when the time is appropriate. To ensure that this can happen, we must keep the business running and we need your support now more than ever!
Last year, we moved to a larger location, which allowed more fencers from the Kansas City Metro Area to participate and learn the sport of fencing. We invested valuable resources into a new sports floor, moving expenses and substantial monthly rent. All this has depleted our financial reserves. During the shelter-in-place we now are depleting our personal savings.
To be able to keep our fencers fit during the lockdown, and continue to produce a modest revenue stream, we decided to start online fencing classes. Many fencers have joined us in the past few weeks and have enjoyed the online opportunities. The revenue we are producing, however, is not enough to cover our expenses.
HFA is looking for the support of the community and our families to keep our Academy open. We are in desperate need of funds that will help cover our rent, and utilities for the months we are closed. As suggested, we have applied for government and foundation assistance, but we have not received any funds yet.
The services we provide to our athletes are important for their well-being, and the development of the sport in the Midwest. If you can support our cause, we would truly appreciate it. Any amount you can contribute will make a difference - even $5.
Thank you for taking the time to read about our mission. Please, reach out if you would like to learn more about our fundraising efforts.