London Fencing Club
March-April 2007 Newsletter, No 26

In this issue...

Decoration works at Finsbury Leisure Centre Spring Holidays  Competitions reports     Have you missed a lesson?     Streatham exchange     Salle Candidski    Private lessons from Priscille on Thursdays   New Notice board    Petition to PM

Major refurbishment works at Finsbury Leisure Centre in April

flcAfter many years of quiet falling apart the basement of the leisure centre will now undergo major works which, the centre management promises, will result in the improved ventilation and lighting, new paint on the walls and the ceiling and a general uplifting atmosphere. The dowbside of these good news is that the basement sports hall will be unavailable during the April. As it would be unthinkable and unfair to suspend the training process for this period,  I suggest that all classes temporarily will use the Gymnasium of Central Foundation Boys School as their venue. This means that the time table will undergo some minor shifts: my sincere apologies for any inconvenience this might cause! It's only for one month!

Here are the details of the changes. The Monday, Tuesday and Thursday groups that usually train at CFBS starting at 7 pm will start at 6 pm on the same days. The sessions will be as usual for 1.5 hour. The groups from Finsbury centre will train from 7.30 pm to 9 pm: Monday foil class and Thursday epee class remain on the same days. The Wednesday sabre class will have to move to Tuesdays (you receive double apologies and if it's more convenient for this month you're also welcome to come on Thursdays for 6 pm - 7.30 pm sabre class!). Saturday free play session will maintain a limited service at Finsbury Leisure centre using the Activity Room upstairs which can hold about 3 pistes.  There is also quite a large bar area for the individual lessons and - weather permitting - plenty of space to fence al fresco.

The summary:

Normal times
Times for April 2007
Classes at Finsbury Leisure Centre, Norman St, EC1V 3QN to move to Gymnasium of Central Foundation Boys' School, Cowper St and will start 30 min earlier - except for Saturday sessions.
Monday 8 pm - 9.30 pm - foil  Monday 7.30 pm - 9 pm
Wednesday 8 pm - 9.30 pm - sabre  Tuesday  7.30 - 9 pm
Thursday 8 pm - 9.30 pm - epee  Thursday 7.30 - 9 pm

2 pm - 5.00 pm - all weapons Limited service at Finsbury Leisure Centre using Activity Room on the 1st floor which has place for about 3 pistes.
2 pm - 5 pm

Classes at Gymnasium of Central Foundation Boys' School, Cowper St
to stay at the same venue but to start 1 hour earlier
Mondays 7 pm - 8.30 pm - epee   6 pm - 7.30 pm
Tuesday 7 pm - 8.30 pm - foil   6 pm - 7.30 pm
7 pm - 8.30 pm - foil  7 pm - 8.30 pm (no change)
Thursday 7 pm - 8.30 pm - sabre  6 pm - 7.30 pm

Individual lessons: I've modified the time table and you should be able to book the private lessons as normal. In rare cases it might be necessary to move the starting time of the lesson slightly.

Directions to CFBS:
If you come by tube take exit 4 from the station. Cowper Street is right there and the school is at the end close to the tube. Looking from the tube station the school is on the right. There is a blue gate which will be open. Walk through into the school ground. You'll need then to turn left and pass through a couple of doors in the building to get into the inner yard. The entrance to the gym is from there, a blue door on the right.

I hope you'll be able to adjust your time table for these 4 weeks - big thank you for your understanding!


Spring Holidays

Both venues will be closed on the following days:
7 April, Saturday - Easter
9 April, Monday - Easter Monday
7 May, Monday - May Bank holiday
28 May, Monday - Spring Bank Holiday

Our people on the piste

Leslie Cuthbert

My first competition:

Invicta, 18 March 2007  ( Men's Foil )

by Leslie Cuthbert

My first competition. A challenging prospect but one I knew I had to face sooner or later if I want to improve my fencing so at 7.30 am (on a Sunday!) I put my, heavier than usual, fencing gear in the car and headed off to leafy Canterbury and "Invicta".

Fortunately I knew that there would be some friendly faces awaiting me - Sara, Angela, Simon and Coen had all signed up and were going to be battling it out too. And so it was that as soon as I walked into the Sports Centre I found Coen, Angela and Angela's husband Dunce having a coffee.

Signing in followed, a surprisingly straightforward exercise, and then having got changed it was time for a warm-up whilst we waited to find out which pistes we were to be on.

I thought that I would be more nervous than I was but when the poules were announced I got my gear and headed over to my piste and met up with the other 6 guys who I would be facing. Only one of them, Stephen, seemed interested in having a chat and told me that this was his first competition after a year's hiatus and we stood and watched as the first of our opponents took to the piste.

Although the atmosphere could not be described as quiet neither was it as noisy as I had expected and although I hadn't thought about it beforehand it was interesting to see the age range ran from mid-teens to OAPs. The third bout of the poule was my first and I lined up against a teen with their name and ENG clearly shown on the back of their lame. For some reason I took this as a sign that perhaps I might have a slightly difficult fight on my hands. We saluted, the referee started the clock - we were off!

Before I knew it I had scored two points. I was up 2 - 0. This was certainly not what I had thought would happen, I could see my compatriots from Salle Gadaski cheering me on from the sidelines and I thought for a brief moment
that maybe I might do OK. Normal service was quickly resumed, however, in that my more experienced opponent had obviously needed a few moments to get to grips with my wild thrashings with a foil and although I managed to capture another point he won the bout 5 - 3. (As an aside 3 minutes for a bout seems like such a short period of time but fencing is absolute proof that time is relative as each of my 3 minute bouts seemed to last forever! I wonder if Einstein fenced?)

Next up I was facing another teen this time with GBR on his back. I was starting to see a notorious trend developing...... In much less than 3 minutes this bout had also concluded and I had lost 5 - 2. At the end of the bout I was also beginning to notice just how seriously the teenagers, but even more so their parents, took each point.

I could go on and describe the other bouts but by now the rest of my opponents had worked out my limited repertoire of techniques and my naivety in competition and I didn't tax any of them too much. Then with our poule ended it was a case of waiting for the rankings to come out which took an age (that time is relative thing again!) and I was unsurprised to see that I was the penultimate name on the list (i.e. one up from last!!!).

Everyone was going through to the Direct Elimination phase and fortunately my fencing guru Sara had explained to me how DE works and that it would be 3 x 3 minutes with the first person to score 15 points going through. Simon, Coen and I were all on different pistes, they having done better than I, and so wishing each other good luck we strode off to our respective places to await our turn.

My opponent was someone from the top half of the rankings and, as I surreptitiously watched him limbering up, clearly had a fair amount of experience.  I had decided to try not to race through the 15 points and to try and use up as much of the 9 minutes as I could and to take my time with the bout. My opponent, however, had other ideas and no matter what I tried started to score some points against me. Therefore I responded by doing the only thing that I could think of which was to become as unpredictable as possible and not do the same technique over and over again.

Although he had managed to score the first few points my change of tack saw me catch him out and by the end of the first minute we were virtually level 7 - 6 to him. Here again experience weighed in though as he now changed his
method of attacking me and by the end of the first 3 minute period the score stood at 14 - 7 to him. In the minute's break he received some pointers from his club colleagues (like he really needed them!) and within 10 seconds of the restart had claimed the final point he needed. A handshake later and I was out of the competition.

The organizers were excellent, however, in that they had organized a 'plate' competition for all those fencers eliminated in the first round of DE and so it was that Coen, Simon and I all signed up for this and were all selected for the same poule.  This was a much friendlier version of competition, with all the fencers taking part being a lot chattier knowing that this wasn't quite as important as the elimination taking part on the other side of the hall. This time around I actually managed to win a bout, plus a lot more points, but it was still not enough to take me through to the next stage unlike Coen who was on magnificent form and indeed ended up as one of the 2 men with joint top score in the plate competition.

I eventually left around 4.15 pm feeling pretty tired but having thoroughly enjoyed the day, having seen some excellent fencers and having had confirmed to me just how much more there is for me to learn in this wonderful sport. Final thanks must go to my buddies on the day who were incredibly supportive and all fought brilliantly themselves. Now, when did you say the next competition was Sara....

Invicta Women's Foil results:

Angela Gould and Sara Spence got byes through to Second DE round after the poules: Angela Gould battled strongly against a difficult opponent (coming back from 1-7) to make a very creditable L8. Sara Spence went out in second DE, thereby entering plate competition which she won.


Intermediate South East Region Foil Championships, Sunday 25 February 2007

Gadaski Foil Women win 1st and 3rd!
womens foil

A small and intimate competition (read: self reffing pools and the ability

of the women to protest about being asked to fence at the far end of the gym practically inside a five-a-side football goal) saw Angela Gould and Sara Spence well able to cope with the demands of fencing, reffing and time keeping. Angela's first UK competition in the UK after a lay off of some years saw her comfortably and good humouredly - despite some provocation - through her poule round (she won all 6 matches) and on to her DE round.
Sara won 4 and lost 2, meaning that she fenced a Streatham fencer in the DE round with whom it seems to be becoming a habit to toss a coin to see who wins. The coin landed Sara side up on this occasion which meant Angela and Sara (!) fenced for the second DE. Angela turned up a gear and Sara could not reach her- Angela winning 15-9. The final showed Angela switching up another gear to win comfortably 15-6. Neither Angela or Sara realized that a trophy and medals would be forthcoming so a small award ceremony was a nice bonus. (And all the male foilists were forgiven their earlier space transgressions by clapping loudly so all ended happily.)


Epee view

by Adam Steiner

March is a busy month for fencing competitions, encompassing the Nottingham Open, Coupe de Nord FIE satellite event in Edinburgh and the Invicta Open in Kent.  The Gadaski Epeeists put in appearances at all three and produced some excellent results.  Rachel Brookes performed particularly well, coming 13th, 6th and 16th in the three competitions respectively.  Her 6th place at Edinburgh makes her the first Gadaski Fencer to earn a World Cup point and as a result she has officially one of the best 300 lady epeeists in the World!  Other notable results were Adam coming 7th at Nottingham and Adeel making the last 64 in both of the competitions he attended.  Gadaski now has a considerable number of fencers in the UK rankings.  As at the 1st March our positions were as follows follows:

Mens Epee                           Womens Epee
85 -  Adam Steiner              51 - Rachel Brookes
114 - Shakespeare Vallecer
211 - Dominic Yu
230 - Adeel Iqbal
244 - Dumi
379 - Richard Bradbury

It will help to build Gadaski's reputation in the UK to get three men and three ladies into the top 100.  Our existing fencers are going from strength to strength and building on each other's experience, but in order to achieve our target we need more lady fencers to compete for the club.  If you are interested on experiencing the cutting edge of the sport please see Rachel for more information on how to ease yourself into the competition circuit

Once again we would like to encourage any budding competitors, particularly ladies, to speak to captains:  Adam, Rachel or Sara about attending competitions.

Most of the competitions are listed in the calendar  available on the British Fencing Association website.

Streatham Exchange

Intersted in a low level entry into the competitive scene? Simon Warwicker is organizing a friendly visit to Streatham Fencing Club this month. Friendly visits are still a little bit competitive and a good opportunity to cross blades with some new opponents. If interested please contact Simon direct.

Missed lessons can be reclaimed!

isabella b
Congratulations to James on the birth of beautiful Isabella Brabazon!

New borns can make it tricky to attend the fencing salle on a regular basis - but flexible arrangements are available!

A reminder to all those busy members who, being under pressure of work or intense social life or family commitments, had to go without fencing for a length of time: We're most happy to arrange for you complimentary individual lessons programme which will help you back to the piste! (And this way your membership fees won't be wasted too!)

Simply get in touch and let us know once you're ready to start fencing again!


Salle Candidski

continues its wide sabre style brush work focusing on fencing friends and family. You might be living your normal life unaware that the sharp pen of Olivier Hiun has already immortalized your fencing style for the WWW.
Visit http://sallecandidski.blogspot.com/
to find that strange looking personage which you'll suspect meant to be you!


New on the web: Notice Board!

Brand new Notice Board is now available to the club's website! It's just been launched and it's main purpose is to make your day at work even more exciting! Please use it to post your items for sale, calls for team mates, announcement of competitions, parties and everything else!


Priscille Lapoutge

will be giving private lessons and taking part in coaching of the Thursday sabre class with Nick. This should make the private coaching more accessible on Thursday - starting from 6 pm, so please use the opportunity! As usual the private lessons can be booked on http://www.londonfencingclub.co.uk/private_lessons.php


Petition to Prime Ministerdowning st

Intersted in influencing big politics?
Why not sign up petition against the ban on swords!
You can do it here:

Yours as ever,

 Tim Gadaski
newsletter editor