I view the venture as an opportunity to teach inner-city kids life skills. I wanted to teach them how to win and lose, deal with stress, control their emotions, and strive for excellence. On that first wintry Saturday in February, we had six kids, all of them our own relatives or those of our friends. The next Saturday, forty little black, brown, white, and yellow faces showed up at the club, and no one could believe it. People thought I was crazy. Everybody told me that within two weeks we'd lose two-thirds of the kids. We didn't lose any. Parents came to us and said they couldn't understand it. They had never seen their kids get involved with any activity as passionately as they took to fencing.
From his autobiography, "Harnessing Anger: The Inner Discipline of Athletic Excellence" (Seven Stories Press)
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