Fencing Club

Newsletter #8.

Autumn Term 2017 - Issue Eight

Welcome to the final newsletter of the term. In this issue we share with you the brilliant results our fencers achieved at the County Championships and recent Leon Paul Junior Series events. Coach John discusses the benefits of taking individual lessons and we highlight some upcoming competitions.

County Youth Championships

On Sunday 5th November, Winchester College hosted the Hampshire County Youth Championships. Well done to all 14 fencers who represented Sarum Swords at this competition. You were awesome! Pictured below are some of our brilliant medallists and champions.

For the full results: Click here

(centre left) Under 14 boys foil champion Kunle Taiwo, (far right) Bronze medallist Alec Dakin
(far left) Under 12 boys foil Bronze medallist Matthew Stahl, (centre left) Under 12 boys champion Davis Dore
(centre left) Under 12 girls foil Bronze medallist Ella-Marie Rudman-Bromley, (far right) Silver medallist Natasha Begbour
(far right) Under 14 girls foil Bronze medallist, Alex Waller
(far right) Under 16 boys foil Bronze medallist, Joseph Westlake

County Senior Medallist

Phoebe Luther (far left) County Silver Medallist

Congratulations to club coach Phoebe Luther, who came second at the Hampshire Senior fencing championships. Phoebe’s fencing grew stronger as the day went on. In the quarter finals, she defeated tricky left-handed fencer Elisabeth Erbach with some great attacking fencing. In the semi-finals, Phoebe raised her game again to beat Alex Moor from Southampton University. In the final, the experience of Great Britain team veteran fencer Jenny Morris proved a little too much for her and she was finally defeated. However, Phoebe should be really pleased with her excellent fencing. Well done!

Newham Leon Paul Junior Series Quarter Finalist

Congratulations to Davis Dore for finishing 7th place out of 42 fencers at the Newham Leon Paul Junior Series on the 18th November. Solid fencing allowed Davis to win four matches out of five in both rounds of the group stages. These results placed him as 8th seed going into the direct elimination stage with a bye through the first round. In the last 32, Davis defeated Oliver Hobson of Hitchin Fencing Club 10-1. Davis had a much tougher time in the last 16 against Minkel Archer from Newham Swords, requiring a dramatic late comeback to win 10-7. The quarter final was a tense close affair against Samuelis Savickas from Allez Fencing Club. Davis led 2-1 at the first break and was winning 5-4 going into the final period of fencing. His opponent managed to score the winning point in the last few seconds. However, this was a very good performance from Davis who came agonizingly close to winning another Leon Paul medal. Well done!

Full results: Click here

Leon Paul Junior Series Quarter Finalist

Great to see such excellent fencing from Truman Dore at the LPJS, organised by Fencers Club London in Rickmansworth. Truman won three matches and only lost one in both rounds of the group stages. He progressed smoothly, storming through his first direct elimination match with a 10-3 win in the first period of fencing. In the last 16, he produced a great result, defeating strong fencer, Luca Florea 10-8 to make the quarter finals. He was finally eliminated by Ashley Crees 10-4, but I was extremely pleased to see such a strong performance from him, which is a credit to all the hard work he has put into his training recently.

Truman Dore, Leon Paul Junior Series Quarter Finalist

Head coach appointed County Chairman

Congratulations to head coach John Routledge, who was appointed as Chairman of the Hampshire Fencing Union at their AGM. He now intends to organize more competitions for the County's younger, less experienced fencers. He is also planning to run County training days for the Junior and Senior fencers in the area.

Coach John's words of Wisdom


‘Although the use of group is necessitated by practical considerations … it can no means replace the individual lesson.’ - ‘Fencing and the Master’, László Szabó

In the long history of fencing, the effectiveness of one on one lessons between a fencing master and a student has been known for many centuries. In my experience, having been a professional fencing coach for over a decade, getting individual lessons will be the most important factor in accelerating your child’s learning and helping them develop to be successful in the sport. However, there are several considerations to think about before committing to individual lessons. They require effort, focus, money and time.

(Above) ‘The Fencing Lesson’, 1884 by Paja Jovanović

When your child is just starting out, it is a good idea to begin in a group class. At Sarum Swords, we take care to run classes that teach fundamental movement skills, using fun games and exercises to help develop coordination abilities, improve perception, concentration and speed of reactions. We also hope that our group lessons will help to establish camaraderie, and boost confidence amongst the children to help them master difficult skills. However, if your child is really enjoying their fencing and wants to take it more seriously and do competitions, one-on-one lessons with a coach can be invaluable.

It’s not only a matter of individual lessons improving your child’s skillset, it’s also about how much faster your child will grow as a fencer. As the coach can give the pupil their exclusive attention in an individual lesson, they can plan tailor-made lessons that not only reinforce, but also build directly upon what their student has mastered previously. Receiving the coach's undivided attention, the fencer's progress will be much more rapid than it would be in a group lesson.

(Above) Head coach John gives an individual lesson at the ‘Marathon fleuret challenge CEP’ in Paris

Can your child progress without the benefit of individual lessons? 


In each Sarum Swords group session, the coaches allocate time to work with each child, developing the key skills they need to be a fencer. In addition, the younger fencers naturally copy the older more experienced fencers in the class. When we fence with advanced fencers, we tend to repeat and copy their moves, ideas or style to some degree.

By attending a class with more advanced fencers, children new to the sport will experience a subtle and natural form of learning through imitation during the exercises and matches.The problem with this process of learning is that mimicking behavior can only go so far. The pupil may see the movements of the advanced fencer, but miss the subtleties of the technique. Or they may learn an incorrect method or pick up bad habits. Unfortunately, in group lessons, there are many fencers, so the coach cannot fix every mistake that occurs.These habits could then become ingrained in the fencer and are difficult to unlearn later. After all, it’s easier to learn a new good habit than to unlearn a bad one!

That is why we stress that fencers who want to compete need the benefit of individual lessons. Individual lessons do require added time and expense, so we suggest that you don’t engage in them unless you or your child is serious about the sport and wants to make this obligation. We recommend that you discuss how private lessons can be incorporated into your training with either John or Phoebe at the club.

The bottom line is that lessons are well worth the time and commitment.They will help the young fencer improve at a much more rapid pace while developing their own style and technique. Individual lessons are the key to turning a good fencer into a top one.

*All of John's coaching articles for young children can be found collected together by clicking: HERE

Upcoming Competitions:

(If you need help entering any competition or would like to know if any of these events would be suitable for your child, please contact coach John)

Newham Swords Junior Challenge Series – Event 1
Date: 14th January 2018
Venue: SportsDock, University of East London (Docklands Campus), London E16 2RD
U10, U12, U14 & U16 boys and girls foil competition
Link: Click here

Southern Region – British Youth Championships Qualifier
Date: 21st January 2018
Venue: Wellington College, Duke’s Ride, Crowthorne RG45 7PU
U12, U14, U16 & U18 boys and girls Regional foil competition
Link: Click here
Bristol Leon Paul Junior Series Foil
Date: 17 February 2018
Venue: Bristol Grammar School, University Road, Bristol, BS8 1SR
U11, U13 & U15 boys and girls foil competition
Link: Click here
The British Youth Championship Finals 2018
Date: 5th - 7th May 2018
Venue:  The English Institute of Sport, Sheffield, Coleridge Road, S9 5DA
Qualification for the BYC Finals is via regional qualifying events
Link: Click here
Under 10 British Youth Foil Championships
Date: 20 May 2018
Venue: Wrekin Sports Hall, Wrekin College, Sutherland Road, Wellington, Telford, TF1 3BH 
No need to qualify (anyone is eligible to enter)
Link: Click here


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

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

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