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Congratulations to Julian Cheng for qualifying for the US Cadet World Championships Men's Foil Team!

The Final Lap


It was 8pm on February 19 in Kansas City; the final day of the Junior Olympics. There were fencers scurrying to pack their bags to make their journey home, some wearing a weary smile, others with a despondent look for less than desired results. All in all, just another day at a fencing competition.

Marx fencers who weren’t leaving were gathered by the podiums in wait for the medal ceremony to begin. They were waiting for it to end, really, for they knew that the best was always served at the last - the announcement of Julian’s qualification to the World Cadets team.

It was no surprise when it came - Julian’s 2nd rank in the national points standings automatically qualifies him -  but to hear it officially announced seem to cement it as fact. 

Yes, Julian was going to Plovdiv, Bulgaria, for the 35th World Cadet Championships.

He has climbed his way up the ranks with incredible results in a span of one year - from being 5th in Cadets, 40th in Juniors and without rank in Seniors the same time last year, to today, 2nd in Cadets, 8th in Juniors, and 66th in Senior. Julian has in addition made three top 8 finishes at European Cadet Circuits.

For all his hardwork, tenacity, sweat and tears, Julian deserves it and the coaches are incredibly proud of him.

Said Michael, “Julian has had an amazing season, and there were occasions that he was very close to even better results- both his Div1 losses at this Junior Olympics for example were cases of 14-15 while his average victories were 15-7. In the 8 National point events (3 Cadet, 3 Junior and two Div1) that he's competed in this season, he's achieved a pool bout record of 46 wins to 1 loss! His indicators for the 8 pools is +176, making his average bout score 5-1! That’s astounding!!!!!”.

Added Ralf, "When looking at the magnitude of this qualification, we have to bear in mind that qualifying for the United States is among the hardest in the World. I think the only other country that comes close to this level of difficulty in this age category is Russia. Qualifying for one of these countries automatically makes one a contender for a top 8 finish or even a medal at the World Championships. Julian has worked very hard during the season to earn his ticket to Plovdiv.".

There were pats on the backs of fencers who made the team and applause, but all that faded quickly. It seems, there’s a tacit understanding that the celebration is to be saved. The qualification is but the first step to the final lap that begins behind the lines, in the gym, and out there on the road, long before the dance under the lights.


Root for Julian and watch the Cadet Men’s Foil event on Facebook live and Youtube live on 2 - 3 April.

A Quick Reflection On The Junior Olympics by Ralf Bissdorf

I am overall happy with the performance of the foil fencers. Looking at the Cadets, a Silver Medal and two Top 32 finishes is good result. It was a pleasure seeing the team finish in the Top 4 in the team event. I believe that all our fencers will sooner or later be rewarded for the work that they put in. For some of them it is just to get over the "(Top 64) hump" once. Just hang in there and continue to work hard.

This JO as compared to the last has visibly produced more stable results in the pools and higher than before seedings. We are getting better at converting these high seedings into results and ranking points. We are tactically better and generally more stable in our defence.

From now till the big Summer Nationals, while we continue to improve on all aspects of fencing skills, the main focus in the next weeks will be in distance, preparation and attack. There is also room to improve on our fighting spirit as well as the ability to finish a bout strong (technically, tactically and mentally) when the scores are close.

Klemens Panczuk

Is 26 years old, from Munich and holds a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration. He loves travelling and exploring new places and is glad to be visiting the East Coast for the first time. Read on to find out more about our guest coach who will be with us from now until the end of April.

1.  How did you come to pick up fencing?
I was living across the street of one of the biggest sports club in Munich, so I started by attending one of the  regular sports classes when I was about 4 or 5 years old. There were many fencers who were using the same locker rooms as I did so I got attracted to and curious about all the equipment, especially the weapons and masks. In the end I decided to try fencing!
2. What were your expectations of Boston before and after spending time here?
I did not expect the large number of fencers here, but it's a pleasant surprise! In my club in Munich we have a lot of members, too (approximately 350) but we are an exception and in general there aren't too many fencers across the country. I also expected Boston downtown to be more hectic and somewhat bigger, but having been there for 2-3 times now, I think it's a rather relaxing and "chill" place. I didn't really come with expectations of Concord, though now I think its beautiful houses and nature is charming and enjoyable.
3. You’ve coached at your local club in Munich, in Singapore and now here - what are the differences that you’ve noticed about the fencers or fencing scene here as compared to that of Munich or Singapore?
Life here seems to be more balanced, where students could attend 2 to 3 fencing trainings a week. In Germany - and especially in Singapore - they are often overbooked with school activities so it gets very difficult to arrange a multiple training sessions a week.
4. What do you hope to achieve in these 10 weeks?
I think the most important thing is to meet people, learn about the US culture and to make new friends! I think it is important that I broaden my horizon and learn and see things with different perspectives. Secondly, I am very excited to work together with Michael, Ralf, Adam and the other coaches at Marx Fencing Academy. I would like to learn from them and contribute to the club by sharing my ideas and thoughts about fencing, especially with the fencers whom I work with. 

5. What is your bucket list for Boston?
Puuhh there are so many things that I want to do: visit Harvard University, go to a Celtics game, visit the Freedom Trail, celebrate St. Patrick's Day, explore Downtown Boston and maybe go see the Boston Symphony Orchestra...
6. Tell us something interesting about yourself - any special abilities or quirks?
I was raised bilingual with Ukrainian as my mother tongue and German as my primary language. I still speak Ukrainian with my mom but unfortunately it has gotten worse over the years because I'm just not using and practising the language often enough. Aside, some of you may have noticed that my mask is a little skewed when I wear it. I can't wear my mask straight- if I do, it will hurt my ears and feel very strange.
7. You've trained with Ralf for some years before he retired. What was your most memorable moment with him?
It would definitely be at my first Senior German championships team competition back in 2005 when I was still a Cadet. In the semi-finals against the team from Bonn which had Benjamin Kleibrink (2008 Olympic Individual Gold Medalist), Bonn was in the lead with around 20 points, but Ralf did an incredible 18:3 (!!!) bout and caught up, so that we almost qualified for the finals! We lost 43:45. We later fenced the match for bronze with the team from Koblenz that had Peter Joppich (5 times World Champion). I was happy to beat Joppich in my team bout with a score of 5:4!

5 Random Questions with Veteran Barry Litt!

Veteran fencers are inspiring to watch. They fence with what moves their body can muster, an incredible "nothing to lose" fighter attitude, and take loses like a champ. In this issue we speak to Barry Litt who fences both epee and foil and packs a load of positive energy. If you haven't yet spoken to Barry, you should.

1. Tell us about yourself- how did you come to pick up fencing?
I get this question a lot. Presumably people see this old git with a sword and figure I learned it for self-defense sometime around the 17th century. But really, my son started when he was 7 during his medieval knights phase. I took him to a lesson and was thrilled at what I saw. Not one to be left out of the fun, I asked the coach if I could join in the lesson. “It’s on the house,” he said, cunningly aware that the sport would sell itself. I was hooked and never looked back. That was about 14 years ago! 

2. You are hands down one of the most dedicated fencers at the club - you live 1.5 hrs away in New Hampshire, train 3 times a week, take private lessons well after everyone else have gone home and hit the competitions in the weekend. What motivates you?
Simply put: it’s a lot of fun! Indeed, I train 3 times a week and have weekly physical therapy to repair the damage (It takes a veritable pit crew to keep this body going!). I am so delighted and feel so privileged to be doing this sport! The excitement, dynamism, and intensity motivates me to push myself harder physically than anything I can imagine (short of being caught in a zombie apocalypse). I appreciate the mental challenge as well, as I am constantly puzzling out the nuances of the sport. As a bonus, the fencing community has been great. My coaches are brilliant teachers and wonderful friends; the fencers and their parents are encouraging, friendly, and welcoming.  

3. What is your ultimate goal in fencing?
I have specific and general goals in fencing. Most assuredly, it is to have fun. Beyond that, I would like to earn my C in foil and maintain my C in epee. More generally, fencing for me is about self-mastery: gaining more focus and tactical awareness during the physical demands of competition­­—to be more disciplined. This is more of a general improvement project with no end in sight!

4. Besides fencing, what are your interests?
I am very devoted and immersed in my career, which I find very gratifying. I am a psychotherapist, consultant, and trainer (to other therapists). It is very different from fencing, so I like the contrast. In the past I have done many sports: wrestling, pole vaulting(!), tennis, skiing, equestrian, biking… but fencing dominates my physical activity. My wife and I are avid theatre goers and enjoy movies, plays, opera and musicals.

5. If you could swap bodies with any Marx fencer for a day, who would it be and why.
Swap bodies, huh? How about I play Dr. Frankenstein and make a creature out of many bodies? I would love to have Cassie Bates’ lightning fast reflexes for sure. Add to that, Liam Carpenter’s awesome power, Gregory Mitberg’s preternatural sense of distance, Julian Chiang’s ability to break the sound barrier, and combine that with Duncan Rheingans-Yoo’s technical perfection and Amita Berthier’s balletic agility. Embody these attributes and I would conquer the sport. Is that too much to expect? I ask you?

Barry will be joining the Molly Stark Mixed Team Relay event happening on 03/11 with Klemens and Amita. He's in it to win it and he will not lose sleep in the event that his team creams the rest.
February Results

Cobra Challenge Div1A/Div2 ROC
Div 1A Men’s Epee - (20th) Liam Carpenter
C & Under Women’s Epee - (2nd) Aeryn O’Reilly, (35th) Lyric Lott
C & Under Men’s Foil- (21st) Andrew Sledeski, (48th) Oliver Hu
Div 1A Women’s Epee - (15th) Ariel Cox, (18th) Rebecca Pfeiffer, (23rd) Aeryn O’Reilly, (27th) Meghan O’Reilly
Div 1A Men’s Foil - (6th) Allan Ding, (43rd) Oliver Hu, (46th) Andrew Sledeski

Junior Olympics
Junior Men's Epee - (22nd) Liam Carpenter, (27th) Addison Wessel, (190th) Tom Stadnikov, (227th) Robby Kirkwood, (258th) Cameron Santos
Junior Women's Epee - (31st) Meghan O'Reilly, (35th) Ariel Cox, (37th) Kaiji Gisolfi-McCready, (56th) Rebecca Pfeiffer, (107th) Aeryn O'Reilly, (156th) Lyric Lott
Junior Men's Foil - (10th) Julian Cheng, (32nd) Allan Ding, (58th) Brian Wang, (116th) Oliver Hu, (154th) Will Chiang, (161st) Brian Li
Cadet Men's Epee - (3rd) Addison Wessel, (83rd) Tom Stadnikov, (124th) Cameron Santos
Cadet Women's Epee - (83rd) Aeryn O'Reilly
Cadet Men's Foil - (2nd) Julian Cheng, (17th) Allan Ding, (27th) Brian Li, (35th) Brian Wang, (83rd) Will Chiang, (154th) Oliver Hu
Junior Team Women's Epee - 3rd
Junior Team Men's Foil - 4th
Junior Team Men's Epee - 16th


Five Weapon D Meet
Senior Mixed Epee - (1st) Arthur Andreev, (7th) Barry Litt, (9th) Joshua Lim, (11th) Aidan Parte
Senior Mixed Foil - (11th) Barry Litt, (12th) Anuj Sirsikar

BFC Youth Tournament Series 5
Y12 Mixed Epee - (20th) Isabella Parte, (22nd) Benjamin Witkov
Y12 Mixed Foil - (10th) Naomi Miller, (13th) Arianna Roberts, (25th) Isabellla Musto, (29th) Sophia Han, (33rd) Andria Bao, (36th) Sophie Parte, (42nd) Tyler Robb
Y14 Mixed Epee - (1st) Helen Cobert, (5th) Tal Kronrod, (9th) Max Dolmetsch, (11th) Gavin Cox, (12th) Isabella Parte, (16th) Laurent Joachim
Y14 Mixed Foil - (2nd) Katelyn McShine, (11th) Benjamin Lu, (13th) Isabella Musto, (14th) Arianna Roberts

NJFA RJCC (Region 3)
Cadet Women’s Epee - (15th) Anisha Kundu
Junior Men’s Foil - (3rd) Brian Li, (31st) Albert Wu
Junior Women’s Epee - (14th) Anisha Kundu

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Marx Fencing Academy · 119 Commonwealth Avenue · Concord, MA 01742 · USA

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