Fencing Club

Newsletter #11.

Summer Term 2018 - Issue Eleven

Welcome to the Summer Term club newsletter. Lots of exciting things have been happening at the club this term, so without further ado...

Hampshire Under 14 Team Champions

Under 14 Hants team champions – Matthew, Adam and Ella-Marie

Congratulations to Adam, Matthew and Ella-Marie for finishing 1st out of 7 teams at the Hampshire Under 14 Team Championships, which was held at Winchester College on the 3rd June. Our team showed great camaraderie and team spirit to beat the Espada ‘A’ Team in a close, exciting final. Well done also to Alec, Emma and Adam for finishing third in the same competition. We are really proud of everyone from our club who took part.

IAPS Fencing Championships Medallist

Congratulations to Ella-Marie who won a medal at the IAPS fencing championships, which was held on 13th May at Millfield Prep School in Glastonbury. Ella fenced brilliantly to win seven out of her eight group stage matches. Well done also to Adam who made the last 16 out of a field of 42 fencers in the under 11 boys foil event. It’s great to see both fencers making so much progress.

Coach Selected For Junior & Cadet Commonwealth Fencing Championships


Congratulations to head coach John, who has been selected to be the England foil coach for the under 17s (Cadet) and under 20s (Junior) boys and girls at the Junior and Cadet Commonwealth Fencing Championships to be held at Sport Central, Newcastle from 23rd July until 30th July.


2018 British Youth Championships

Action at the 2018 BYCs

We were very proud to have children representing our club and the Southern Region at all three days of this years British Youth Championships, which was held over the bank holiday weekend at the England Institute of Sport in Sheffield. Well done to Natasha, Jemima, Kunle and Davis for representing our club so well and for producing such fantastic fencing. Lots of valuable experience gained!

Full results: Click here


Under 10 British Youth Championships

Well done to Matthew for finishing 19th out of 56 fencers at the under 10 British Youth Championships. Matthew won three out of five matches in his first round and four out of five matches in his second round of poules. He then won his first elimination match 10-1, before being defeated 10-6 in the last 32. This is a very encouraging result for Matthew who showed great improvement in his fencing and had a really positive attitude all day.

Full results: Click here

Coach John's words of Wisdom

Break their momentum


‘Momentum’ is considered a cornerstone of physics and can be defined as the ability of an object to keep moving because of its mass and velocity. A good analogy is of a snowball rolling down a mountain side. What starts as a small, slow moving object, can easily become a fast-moving large object that can do some real damage. In fencing, we can think of ‘psychological momentum’ as the probability of winning or losing a point, because of the impact of the hits that immediately preceded it. Through my many years of taking part in and watching competitive fencing, I can think of many examples of fencers who just seem to be ‘on a roll’, scoring point after unanswered point in quick succession. In many cases, their opponent was not aware of how to control the psychological momentum of a bout. Instead, they simply went with the flow. However, with understanding and application, it is possible to stop momentum swinging away and turn the tide if the momentum is not with you.


Taking a break during a fight at an important competition is a common practice, particularly after losing several hits in a row. Fencers use several methods of pausing play, the most commonly used one is to untie and then immediately re-tie their shoe laces. When I have been coaching Britain’s top Cadet and Junior women foilists, I often see them take their mask off, untie their hair and then retie their hair exactly as it was! The reason for the break is to buy some time to calm down and to think of how best to execute the next hit while also hoping that our opponent will lose concentration. 

The effectiveness of taking a break lies in the simple fact that only the fencer who takes the break knows when to return to the fight while the fencer who is waiting does not. The waiting fencer might get impatient. When you get impatient, you tend to rush. When you rush you make physical and mental mistakes. Make mistakes and you lose points. See how it works? Your tempo is rearranged. Your concentration drifts. It can destroy your game if you don’t know how to respond.


My coach educator, Ziemek Wojciechowski, once told me how his pupil Richard Kruse used this idea. Richard was fencing the French foilist Jérémy Cadot. Not doing particularly well, the French fencer decided to take a break. Richard knew that the break was part of Cadot’s gamesmanship and so to maintain momentum, after Cadot returned to the fight, Richard almost immediately took another break. It was completely unexpected by Cadot and it meant that his own break had practically no effect on the result of the fight which Richard won.


I am not in any way saying that taking a break should be the main way of improving your skills and performance which we all know is through smart training and hard work. However, try taking a small break when receiving say three hits in a row and see if it helps you to find a better way of scoring the next hit.





What has impressed me so much this term about Ella is that she has listened to and taken on board every piece of coaching advice I have given her. As a result, she has made huge strides with her fencing, winning a well deserved medal at the IAPS and helping her team to overall victory at the Hampshire under 14 team championships. As an exciting, attacking fencer, Ella has always had a fantastic lunge, but now she has a much improved overall tactical understanding of the game to go with it. Well done Ella!

Summer Fencing Camps:

(If you would like to know if any of these Summer Camps would be suitable for your children, please contact coach John.


Millfield Summer Camp 2018
12th - 17th August


They now run two ‘Annual’ Courses at Millfield the Summer Course in August and an Easter Course in April. (which has been running for 8 years)
The original Summer Course was initially introduced as pre-season training course, an objective that still stands to this day, however it has developed into so much more. This year they have the Legendary Italian Foil fencer Andrea Cassara who is a double World and Olympic Champion joining them to coach/fence and mentor the foilists. 
Every year when September comes around competitions of importance start immediately, the fencing calendar being such that most fencers have ranking tournaments within the first few weeks. Therefore making it vital for them to have done some preparation, attending a summer training camp has proved to be one of the most beneficial ways to prepare for the forthcoming season. 

For more information about the Millfield Summer Camp: Click here

Newham Swords Summer Camp 2018
30th July - 2nd August


Coaches Olympic Fencers and GB Coaches, Pierre Harper and Linda Strachan
 Dates Monday 30th July  Thursday 2nd August 2018
 Times 10.30AM to 4.30PM each day
 Venue SportsDock, University of East London. London E16 2RD
 Cost £67 per day.  £237 for 4 days (10% reduction)
 Ages 8 22 years.  GB Veterans also welcome
 Ability Aimed at fencers (foilist only) of all levels who have a minimum of  six months fencing experience
 Clothing Fencers are expected to provide their own fencing equipment
 Catering Fencers area asked to bring a packed lunch and sufficient drink for the course. Vending machines and a restaurant are available at the venue.
  • To improve fencing fitness
  • Develop technique eg footwork and bladework
  • Provide advice on training for competitions/season planning
  • Develop use of strategies for sparring
  • Prepare for the new season
Full details: Click here

Upcoming Competitions:



Past Newsletters:

Issue One: Click here

Issue Two: Click here

Issue Three: Click here

Issue Four: Click here

Issue Five: Click here

Issue Six: Click here

Issue Seven: Click here

Issue Eight: Click here

Issue Nine: Click here

Issue Ten: Click here

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

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