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En Garde!

There’s a hidden gem inside of Tracy’s West Valley Mall where kids and adults alike can earn their seat at the Round Table. 

Knight Life Sword Fighting Academy allows visitors to unleash their inner King Arthur — or Luke Skywalker, or Legolas, depending on your weapon of choice. From sword fighting and lightsabers to archery and fencing, owner and founder Allan Gagner II aims to provide something for everyone. 

The business has grown over the years from a school where swordsmanship and more is taught to now hosting birthday parties and events in addition to classes.

“We have students down to [age] six and we have students up to 67,” Gagner said. “Pretty much everything here has a way to compete in it.”

Knight Life offers classes in sword fighting, fencing and combat archery, with a wide variety of kid-friendly weapons lining the space’s walls from top to bottom. In the sword fighting class, students can expect to learn historical European fighting techniques. They’ll learn agility, strength, coordination and balance in the fencing class, and combat archery combines the intensity and excitement of paintball while using the skill set of traditional archery thanks to foam-tipped arrows. 

During parties and events, visitors can even partake in jelly ball fights.

“It’s like paintball or airsoft, but without any of the pain, bruises or paint everywhere,” Gagner said. 

Gagner has been partaking in weapons combat for over 20 years and was a fencer in college. Soon after, he toured with a choreography group specializing in weapons combat, performing shows throughout the state. 

Now, he and his wife help those in the 209 find an appreciation for the various combat sports. 

“Fencing is the one that’s definitely the most recognized since the women won the gold medal for singles,” Gagner said. “When ‘Hawkeye’ came out, archery started to spike. Now you have everything with Boba Fett, so lightsabers are coming back again.”

That’s right, Knight Life also offers lightsaber classes and much more. A full list of everything the academy has to offer can be found at