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When your Passion is your Life

By: Kevinique Dobson

Maestro Jared Kirby (Photo by Kevinique Dobson)

Passion is defined as a powerful, uncontrollable, or nearly manageable emotion or predisposition toward a specific person or thing. Jared Kirby, a teacher at Purchase College, says that passion is life itself.

When asked what part of his profession he loves the most, Kirby replied, "I'm in love with what occurs when someone is learning anything if I'm the instructor and I watch a pupil learn something new and that ‘yeah’ moment when they understand it."

“So far, I like fencing, I had a little experience before joining the class, but I feel I’m getting really good at it,” said Astrid Langsam, a student of Kirby. “I think maestro [a fencing instructor] is a good teacher because he makes what we learn interesting.”

Kirby is committed to instructing individuals in all facets of fencing, including the use of sabers, foil weapons, and armor as well as self-defense. He is married, has a son who is 10 years old and is now taking fencing lessons. He has been employed with Suny Purchase for 18 years. He operates a stage combat group called the New York Combat First Station screen, directs a Combat Con stage, offers a class at the local recreation center, travels the world as a teacher, and publishes numerous Shakespearean works.

“I didn’t really know what fencing was, I thought it was a sport where you picked people with a sword. I soon came to find out it was more than that,” said Jiovanny Coyt, a freshman. “From the beginning of the class to now I have grown to like it. It’s a cool class where you get to play and learn techniques with swords. We have learned so much and I have learned knee things that I was aware of. This was all thanks to maestro, he toughens us and made sure we were advancing at a good rate. Any mistakes we had he corrected them, had one on one with us to help us improve,” Coyt continued. “His goal is to help us be better than when we first started. I like maestro as a teacher, he’s good at what he does. I also like his class as a whole; the whole environment is a good place to be in.”

Kirby and one of his students fencing (Photo via Kirby's YouTube channel)

“I don't have hobbies because I turn my passion into my career," said Kirby. " I don't retire, I'm doing what I love so why would I stop doing it? As long as I’m alive, I will still be teaching because when you stop doing what you love you start dying,” said Kirby, who has devoted his entire life to fencing and teaching fencing.

If you are passionate about anything, you will likely continue to do it for the rest of your life. It is because of his master Martinez that he learns about the excitement of fencing and teaching fencing. His instructor was the one who started the fencing club at Purchase, but after he had a sudden heart attack, Kirby decided to cover for him in class while he recovered. However, when his instructor decided to stop fencing, Kirby decided to take the job as a teacher here at Purchase College because he enjoyed it.

“Maestro Kirby is very hard working and will put in as much effort as needed to get you to succeed, but he is expecting you to put in the work as well which is very important,” said Thomas Tapogna, his fencing assistant teacher in training. “It’s very educational and fun to work with maestro and he teaches me so much more about teaching how to encourage people to improve and grow as a fencer and a teacher.”

“His knowledge runs a lot deeper than you can ever get in a single semester class,” said David Jagdeo, who has been training with maestro for 11 years. “His ability to break complex ideas down to very simple building blocks is the whole mark of his teaching style also being able to facilitate different deliveries for different learning styles.”

“It’s very rewarding working with Maestro because he is a laid-back human being himself; his passion for what he does creates an atmosphere of discipline and focus without harshness,” continued Jagdeo.


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