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Fencing Club

News letter #1.

Autumn Term 2016 - Issue One

Welcome to Sarum Swords very first newsletter. With the club growing, I wanted a way to keep you all up to date with what has been going on this term, to celebrate some of the achievements of our fantastic young fencers and to give you important dates for your diaries. Fencers from our club have collectively won an incredible 10 medals or trophies this term at County through to National competitions! It would be brilliant if all the parents spared a moment to flick through this to find out what has been happening. If our young fencers were also encouraged read this news letter ... that would be even better! To that end, I will be including articles, suggestions and training tips for our young warriors to give them the edge and bring their fencing on to the next level.

Three Silver Medals at the Wycliffe Invitational

On September 25th, Darya and Daniel Coombes, Tom Greenall, Matthew Stahl, Max Hodson, Davis and Truman Dore and Kunle Taiwo all travelled to Wycliffe College to take part in their age group invitational competition. Our fencers all did us proud and we ended up with a finalist in every age category! Matthew Stahl and Daniel Coombes did extremely well, winning 5 and 4 matches respectively in only their second ever competition. Well done to everyone who represented the club.

left to right, Matthew Stahl (quarter finalist CAT A), Davis Dore (silver medal CAT B), Truman Dore (silver medal CAT A) and Kunle Taiwo (silver medal CAT C)

Hampshire Youth Championships

On the 11th of October, Ben and Alex Waller, Adam Packman, Matthew Stahl, Zak Read, Josh Key and Kunle Taiwo travelled to St George’s College in Southampton for the Hampshire County Youth Championship. All the children fenced brilliantly, but a special mention goes to Joshua Key who finished 2nd out of eight in the boys under 12 foil. Josh battled through an exciting semi final, winning 10-8 against Elliot England-Holland from Espada fencing club before losing the final narrowly 10-7 to Stefan Hedley-Cheney. Well done to all our fencers who took part!

left to right, Adekunle Taiwo 3rd under 12 boys, Joshua Key 2nd under 12 boys and Alexandra Waller 3rd under 14 girls

Leon Paul Junior Series Medal

Congratulations to Davis Dore who continued his fantastic season with another medal winning performance at the Under 11 Wrexham Leon Paul Juniors Series foil event. The Leon Paul Junior Series are National competitions open to all young fencers in Britain. He fenced really strongly all day and was very pleased to come away with the Bronze. This is Davis’ second LPJS medal of the season and currently puts him at 10th place in the overall rankings. Davis has another year left in this age group and this is a testament to all the extra training he puts in at home.

Truman Dore was unable to progress further than the quarter finals of the Under 9’s boys foil, losing 10-7 to a slightly more experienced fencer, but showed great improvement in his technique. Well done to both boys!

Davis Dore, Wrexham LPJS Bronze

Hampshire Senior Championships

This time our coaches were out competing at the Hampshire senior foil championships.Pheobe Luther fenced brilliantly to finish as runner up in the women’s foil.

John Routledge came out of competitive retirement (having not fenced in a competition for two years), to win the men’s foil championships. At the time of writing, John's legs were still aching!

A big thank you to the Hampshire Fencing Union for inviting our club and for putting on such a great competition!

Women's foil silver medalist Pheobe

     and men's foil champion John


Coach John's words of Wisdom


It's all in the fingers!

At the club I always advise the children to start fencing with a ‘French grip’ foil and to practice with one for at least a few years before moving on to a ‘pistol grip’. I am often asked about my reasons for this, especially as anyone watching the Olympic foil fencing at Rio this past summer would have noticed that all the fencers there used a pistol grip. I want my young fencers to be aware, that the smaller they can make an action, the more efficient it will be and therefore the faster they can make it. This can be a challenge when all Hollywood film duels seem to make the actions in their sword fighting scenes as big as possible to thrill their audiences.

Controlling the point of your foil by moving your wrist is slow and easy for your opponent to see. Using just the forefinger and thumb, a fencer can shave valuable time of each action and make their opponents moves appear cumbersome and obvious. Starting out with a pistol grip encourages the pupil to use their wrist, but starting with a French grip promotes using just their fingers in order to make small movements.

If the pupil is struggling to use their fingers, one good idea is for them to hold the handle of their foil with just their forefinger and thumb. They then rest their three remaining fingers on the outside of the guard. From this position, I ask the fencer to either write their name in the air with the point of their weapon, or to do the blade work section of the club session using this grip. We will encourage children to try this out at the club. Enjoy scoring many hits using just your fingers!

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Sarum Swords · 19 Water Lane · Salisbury, Wiltshire SP2 7TE · United Kingdom

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