Fencing Club

News letter #5.

Summer Term 2017 - Issue Five

Welcome to our fifth and final news letter of the Summer term. In this issue, we want to let you know about our new Sarum Swords club tracksuit tops that are now available to order. We report on another brilliant Leon Paul Junior Series victory and coach John shares fifteen ideas to get more out of sparring matches at the club.

We are incredibly proud of the progress our young fencers have been making (both in the hard work they put in at the club and also the results they have managed to achieve in competitions all around the Country). However, none of this would be possible without the help of the great group of parents we now have supporting the club! We want to take this chance to thank you all for everything you do and hope you all have a really good Summer break.

Welsh Leon Paul Junior Series Winner

Davis Dore - Under 11 Champion

Great fencing from the three Sarum Swords fencers who represented us at the Leon Paul Junior Series held at the Welsh Institute of Sport in Cardiff. In the under 9’s, Truman Dore fenced really well in the group stages. He won three matches with some exciting attacking fencing. Matthew Stahl also had a good time in the poules, using his parry riposte to good effect to win four matches. In the last 16, Truman couldn’t quite find the answer to an opponent that used one action very well and was narrowly defeated by Theo Craig (10-7). Matthew won his first elimination match 10-2 against William Adam to make his second Leon Paul Junior Series quarter final. At this stage, he lost a close match (10-7) to Alexander James, his footwork becoming a little too static in the third period of fencing as his legs tired. Truman finished 10th and Matthew placed 5th out of a field of 18 fencers.

In the under 11’s Davis Dore won seven poule matches. He was a little cagey in his first elimination match against Nicholas Freitas, but his experience saw him through (9-5). In the quarter finals, Davis was totally dominant defeating Jake Morris (10-1). The semi-final saw Davis pitted against England Youth Championship medalist Oliver Hughes. Davis used a great variety of tactics to stop his opponent from predicting what he would do next and made his way to the final with an excellent 10-7 victory against a top opponent. In the final, Davis lead from the start. Although his opponent Callum Evans made a spirited comeback in the second period of fencing, Davis managed to find another gear and upped his game, securing a brilliant victory, finishing 1st out of a field 21 fencers. Well done to all the fencers who took part.

Under 11 results - Click here

Under 9 results - Click here

England Youth Championships Quarter Finalist

- Action at the 2017 England Youth Championships

On the 17th of June, Davis Dore competed at the England Youth Championships, held at the Hertfordshire Sports Village in Hatfield. Davis won four of his poule matches, with only one defeat at the hands of Newham Swords fencer Tomi Fric. These strong group stage results placed him as 13th seed going into the direct elimination. After storming through his first elimination match with a 10-1 victory, Davis made it all the way to the quarter final! Davis was only defeated in the last 8 by the eventual competition winner David Sosnov and was placed 7th overall out of 60 competitors. This was a fantastic and well-deserved result!


Under 11 boys results - Click here

Also in action was Ella-Marie Rudman-Bromley who was fencing up an age group for experience. Losing her first bout, knocked Ella’s confidence a bit. It took her a while to pick herself up again, but once see did, her fencing continually improved for the remainder of the competition. Ella won two poule matches and produced some fantastic fencing in the direct elimination to take her friend Amelia Franks to 9-9 before losing the decisive hit.

- Ella-Marie Rudman-Bromley competing at the England Youth Championships

St Dunstan Foil Medallist

Well done to Ella-Marie Rudman-Bromley who came third at the St Dunstan Foil Competition on the 11th June. In a closely fought poule, Ella managed to win two matches, including an impressive victory over the eventual tournament winner. She was then able to keep her composure and utilize her excellent parry riposte to her win her first direct elimination match against a tricky attacking opponent. Ella was eventually defeated by Maya Penn in the semi-final, but fenced very well to come away with a Bronze medal. Great result!

Bronze Medallist - Ella-Marie Rudman-Bromley
- Ella (near left) in action at The St Dunstan Foil Competition


Our Sarum Swords full zip tracksuit jackets are now available to order. Look like a pro at club training sessions and at competitions. Or just look plain awesome about town. The track tops are £25.

To order a track top - Click Here

Post printed order forms to :

John Routledge,
19 Water Lane,

Email them to:

Or give the printed out form to John at a club session.

* Forms and payment must be received by August 10th if you would like to pick up your track top on the first session of next term.


Another typical club night at Sarum Swords

* Lego scene courtesy of Kunle Taiwo


A very common approach in fencing clubs is to either fence lots of practice bouts where the fencers keep track of the score and fence to a set number of hits, or to do ‘loose play’ where the children fence but don’t keep track of the hits. Excessively doing either of these two things at the club has drawbacks. For example, when keeping track of the score, both fencers will desperately want to win. To get the victory, they will tend to rely on only their best-known favourite strokes, which might end up becoming “reflex-compulsory” actions. They won’t try anything new out, for fear of losing. Unlike a competition, it really doesn’t matter who wins at the club, we just want them to leave better than when they came in.

Alternatively, when the children often fence without keeping the score, the young fencers begin to lower their concentration and lose eagerness and enthusiasm. To counter these problems, I want to present fifteen quick ideas that the children can use to work on specific aspects of their fencing during training bouts. I believe that by working on something in particular, rather than just ‘free fencing’, the children can accelerate their learning:

1. Both fencers take turns to advance. However, their advance can comprise of no more than three movements. Eventually, one fencer should feel that they have found the distance and should attack. The other fencer should attempt to defend with distance (they are not allowed to parry this attack), and take over the attack with step lunge.

2. The fencers play ‘stone, paper, scissors’. The winner has the initiative with the footwork for ten seconds. The loser simply follows maintaining the exact starting distance. This exercise should be done at high intensity.

3. One fencer runs forwards and backwards. The other fencer tries to keep the same distance from them, only using fencing footwork.

4. The fencers begin at extension distance. One fencer has their arm continuously fully extended with the point fixed to their partner’s target. The fencer, who has been hit, moves forwards and backwards. The fencer who has their arm fully extended aims to keep the distance and have their point continuously on the target.

5. The fencers conduct a match to five hits. However, each hit they score with must be from a different tactical category. For example, only one hit via parry riposte, only one hit via counter attack etc.

6. The fencers conduct a match to twenty five hits. The following rules apply: Any hit that occurs without the attacking fencer taking the blade, scores one point. Any hit that occurs after the fencer takes their opponent’s blade, before attacking direct, scores two points. Any hit that occurs after the fencer takes the blade, before attacking indirect, scores three points.

7. The fencers undertake a match where they lose a point for any off target hit landed in time.

8. The fencers are instructed to fence the match at close distance. Neither fencer may step back, but they are allowed to make an additional step forwards in order to close the distance even further. First the fencer starts in the closed line of quarte and then he swaps starting positions with his partner.

9. The pupil fences a whole match on his back line.

10. The fencers do a match where counter attacks don’t score

11. The fencer does a match where they have to learn how to deal with their opponent’s fleche. The opponent should try to attack with fleche whenever possible. The fleche can be classical with the arm extending first, or beat, retract arm and then fleche.

12. The fencers do a match on a four meter long piste.

13. The fencers fight a three minute match. Whoever is winning when the time expires or whoever scores five touches in a row wins (whichever transpires first).

14.The fencers do a poule where ‘hits against’, count double.

15. The fencers do a poule where each match is only fenced to one hit.

* Thank you to Matthew Stahl for the Illustrations.

Coach John's words of Wisdom


There is a very common situation that occurs during a fencing match where one of the fencers suddenly bolts backwards, retreating rapidly and opening the distance between the two participants. In these moments, the other fencer experiences a primal reaction we call ‘Chase the rabbit’, where they feel compelled to close the distance as soon as possible to avoid their opponent getting away. This is a completely natural reaction. However, should the fencer rush after their adversary, often with big chasing steps, they are giving a gift to a counter attacking fencer. As they give reckless pursuit the retreating fencer can do a ducking stop hit or any number of other nasty surprise counter attacks, picking them off as they foolishly rush in. Remember, if you advance with controlled little steps you will be much less vulnerable to counter attack.

One answer to this problem is to use the ‘principle of two waves’. This idea concedes that the fencer will start by instinctively giving chase (the first wave). At this moment, the fencer should recognise the situation and consciously slow down, making their steps smaller and more controlled. The fencer can then advance in this way for as long as it takes, until they find the right distance to attack. At this moment, they accelerate as much as possible to score the hit. This protects the advancing fencer from counter attack as well as makes their final action extremely effective. Enjoy setting up many hits using two waves.

* Thank you to Maitre Ziemek Wojciechowski for introducing me to these principles

Past Newsletters:

Issue One: Click here

Issue Two: Click here

Issue Three: Click here

Issue Four: Click here

Have a great Summer everyone!

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list


This email was sent to <<Email Address>>
why did I get this?    unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences
Sarum Swords · 19 Water Lane · Salisbury, Wiltshire SP2 7TE · United Kingdom

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp