Fencing Club

Newsletter #4.

Summer Term 2017 - Issue Four

Welcome to our fourth newsletter. Plenty has been happening at Sarum Swords recently. The club has continued to grow rapidly. We are now only at the half way point of this Summer term and we have already seen fencers from the club win an incredible 18 medals at local through to National level events! In this issue, we report on some of our notable competition results and successful funding recipients. We also turn our attention to nutrition, giving some recommendations for what to eat both before and during a fencing competition. Finally, head coach John shares some of his techniques and training tips to help young fencers improve their bladework speed and accuracy.

South Wiltshire Invitational Foil Competition

On the 21st of May, 39 fencers representing 7 local clubs travelled to St Edmund's Girls' School in Laverstock to take part in the inaugural South Wiltshire Invitational Foil Competition. Sarum Swords brought a contingent of 22 talented young fencers! Throughout the day, I was bowled over by their great fencing as well as with their exemplary behaviour and attitudes. I am so pleased that we now have so many enthusiastic young fencers competing in Salisbury and I am extremely proud of all the children who represented us. Below are some pictures of our awesome prize winners.

Under 12 boys - Max Farnon, Zak Read (Silver), Davis Dore (Gold), Josh Key (Bronze), Perran Akib (Bronze), Tom Grenall

Under 10 boys - Zac Jordan, Truman Dore (Silver), Beanie Akib (Bronze), Matthew Stahl (Gold), Daniel Coombes (Bronze)

Under 14 boys - Oliver Key, Adekunle Taiwo (Gold), Joseph Westlake (Silver), Sam Lagler, Alec Dakin (Bronze)

U10 Girls - Darya Coombes (Silver), U18 Boys - Gabriel Cox (Silver)

U14 Girls Champion - Alex Waller

The final results from the competition can be found by clicking the link below:


Leon Paul Junior Series Medallist

On the 4th June, Davis Dore travelled up to Linlithgow Academy in West Lothian to take part in the Scotland Leon Paul Junior Series. Davis had a great day, winning all his matches across two rounds of poules. He progressed all the way to the Semi Final, where he was defeated by Callum Penman from Salle Holyrood to finish 3rd out of a field of 15 fencers. Finishing with a Bronze is yet another brilliant result for Davis and takes his medal tally up to four LPJS medals that he has won this year! He was led up to the podium to the sound of bagpipes to top it off. Great work Davis.

U11 boys results: Click here


Under 10 British Youth Championships

Congratulations to Jamie Beaumont who  made the last 32 at the under 10 British Foil Championships on Sunday the 7th May. The event was held at Wrekin College in Telford. Jamie really fenced well in the group stages, winning four matches. He then proceeded to win his first direct elimination match 10-3 against Haris Jacobs. Jamie was finally defeated by Lewis Callaghan, but finished a very respectable 25th out of a field of 45 boys. Well done!phones

IAPS Fencing Championships - 2017

Well done to the four young fencers from our new Saturday session who travelled to Millfield Prep School in Glastonbury on 14th May, to take part in the 2017 IAPS fencing championships. In the under 11 boys foil, Jamie Beaumont got off to a great start in the poules, winning six out of his nine matches. He then continued to fence well, winning his first elimination match. In his second direct elimination bout, he was unable to capitalise on the impressive 7:1 lead he had built up after his opponent switched tactics in the break. Jamie ended up finishing 20th out of a field of 39. However, with a little more experience Jamie has the potential to do even better. In the same event, Adam Skordis was placed 32nd. Adam’s fencing is coming together well, but we will be working on the psychological side of his game for the elimination stages.

Ella-Marie Rudman-Bromley in action at the 2017 IAPS


In the under 11 girls foil, Natasha Begbour produced her best fencing in the second round of poules, including a narrow 4-5 defeat to the eventual competition winner. She was eventually eliminated by a girl who used her superior reach to good effect, finishing 24th out of 34 girls. In the same event, Ella-Marie Rudman-Bromley fenced well to make the last 16 stage, finishing 14th overall. Ella was only knocked out in her second direct elimination match by the top seeded competitor Maya Penn. Ella initially went 4-3 up, before her opponent raised her game to pull away. Nevertheless, this was an excellent performance and all the fencers will have gained valuable experience from doing this event.


Hampshire Fencing Open

Congratulations to club coach, Phoebe Luther who finished 9th out of  21 fencers at this years Hampshire fencing open. Phoebe fenced brilliantly in the poules, winning 4 out of 5 matches in the first round and 3 out of 4 matches in the second. After being seeded fifth, Phoebe received a bye through the first round of direct elimination. After a long break between rounds, Phoebe lost a little of her sharpness and was disappointed to be defeated by a fencer she had beaten earlier in the poules. However, overall she should be really pleased with her performance.

Funding  Recipient

Congratulations to Adekunle Taiwo who successfully applied for a £500 grant to help him with his fencing development. I feel that Kunle is a highly deserving of this award given the exceptional hard work and dedication he puts into his training.

Doing it for Dan was set up in memory of 11 year old Daniel Climance who was tragically killed on 10th June 2015 when he collided with a road sweeper whilst out riding his bike. Doing it for Dan has been set up to encourage children and young adults to engage and participate in sport and leisure activities by awarding grants to individuals and organisations in Wiltshire and its surrounding areas.

On the day of an important competition, a fencer’s ideal breakfast should be a low Glycemic Index food. Glycemic Index is a measure of how quickly foods are absorbed and converted into sugars. Low Glycemic Index food will be more slowly absorbed and so give lower but more sustained blood sugar spikes. What would apply to a diabetic also applies to sports such as fencing, where the action can stretch out across the whole day. Fencers require a high calorie intake, but consistent and not in spikes.

Porridge or some non-sugary cereal is ideal. This is slowly absorbed and releases energy giving long term gains rather than energy spikes. Young fencers can make their own porridge so that they can control the ingredients. 100g of porridge oats contains 60g of carbs, of which 1.5g is sugar. With Quakers ‘Oats so simple’, 100g has 60g of carbs of which, 23g is sugar. The premade version will be of a much higher Glycemic Index. If the fencer wants it sweeter, they can put in a little bit of honey or fruit in the plain porridge and keep the sugars well below the 23g. It will also have the benefit of being much, much cheaper!

During the competition, the classics are Bananas for medium Glycemic Index intake (as used by many tennis players) and Jaffa Cakes. The Biscuit is slow release and the jelly and chocolate give an energy boost. If eating during the competition is problematic for the fencer, they could pre make a banana smoothie to take with them to the competition, with milk for protein and real bananas.

If the fencer gets into the final, or if they are at the point where they might very well go out and are tired, then they can take a sugar hit for a quick burst of energy. If it is in the final then the low is at the medal ceremony. If they have another match, then they just have to deal with it and remember that they probably wouldn’t be in that round otherwise.

Coach John's words of Wisdom



Very often the fencing student who tries very hard and wants to get better, becomes extremely tense in practice and on the fencing strip. The first thing that I notice is that their weapon arm becomes rigid and their shoulder tenses up. All the fine motor control we have been developing suddenly deserts them and the simple motion of extending their arm (exactly as they would to reach out and pick something of a shelf), becomes a heavy punching action thrown from the shoulder. A punching action is useful only for producing power and is of no use at all to the fencer. In fencing, instead we need to generate both speed and accuracy.

There are two brilliant, effective solutions to this problem, amusingly named ‘Spaghetti Arm’ and ‘Muhammad Ali’. Muhammad Ali was arguably the greatest boxer of all time. He was so confident that he would often fight with his lead arm lowered, daring his opponent to attack him. By taking a ‘Muhammad Ali’ stance with their weapon arm lowered, a fencer can completely relax their arm. From this position the fencer can practice ‘Spaghetti Arm’, wiggling their arm between points and removing all the tension. A completely relaxed arm and shoulder enable the fencer to generate unbelievable speed and accuracy every time they extend their arm. Once the pupil has learned to completely relax their arm, one further tip is for the fencer to visualise their foil being ‘pulled from the tip’ towards their target rather than having to push it from their shoulder. Enjoy scoring many fast and accurate hits using these techniques.

* 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

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

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