London Fencing Club
January/February 2009 Newsletter, No 36

Trip to St.Petersburg    Lessons promotion   Saturday things   New President (no, not that one!)

Trip to St.Petersburg

st petersburg

Once again we're invited to Spartak fencing academy in St.Petersburg to rub shoulders (blades, vodka glasses, er... fill in as desired) with the Russians. The trip is suitable for all levels from beginner to advanced and for all weapons.

For those who did not go last time here is a bit of the background. Spartak is one of the main Russian fencing schools located in the centre of St.Petersburg. The coaches are qualified  to teach at any level: from amateur beginner to world class professional sportsmen. The academy trained numerous champions of the World and Europe, many of whom you'll be able to meet. 4 fencers from Spartak took part in Beijing Olympics.  The coaches and the fencers are a very friendly and enthusiastic crowd happy to share their fencing expertise as well as their knowledge of the local bars.

The programme of the visit will include evening training  sessions with the optional individual lessons in the morning.

St.Petersburg offers fantastic opportunities for expanding one's cultural and emotional horizons. World famous theaters and museums, the palaces of the Czars and the monuments of the Revolution, churches and night clubs, the sombre past and the loud unconstrained present - it is all there, available for your inquisitive mind and the body. We'll be traveling in May which is a particularly pleasant time: the nights become short and almost disappear, the weather is warm and the air is full of expectation.

spartakHere are the details of the trip:

Dates: the first week of May 2009 to make full use of the bank holiday. Depart Sunday 3 May - return Sunday, 10 May.

Accommodation: we'll be staying in flats walking distance from the fencing academy. It's in the very centre of St.Petersburg.

Cost: £380 including fencing and accommodation (twin room) but not the travel. Private lessons are at the extra cost of £10 per 20 min lesson. The coaches are very good and I'd recommend at least a couple of hours of lessons during your visit.

Other expenses: visa to Russia now costs £50. Flights (BA, Aeroflot, Finnair, Austrian Airlines and many others) starting from £159 return.

If you're interested: please confirm your participation by mid February. And I'll need to collect the money by the end of March.

Gabor's lessons

Gabor Papp is now giving individual lessons on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. To encourage you to try his lessons the fees are reduced by half till mid February (i.e. just £8 instead of the normal £16 for a 20 min lesson).  Do not miss this opportunity! Click here to try his lesson!

Things to happen on the forthcoming Saturdays

Women's sabre fencing

Although the club has 30 women practicing sabre, weeks can go by before we see more than two in the same place and we only just mustered 4 competitors for last year‘s club Championship. The sabre women get plenty of opportunities to take on the boys but less chances to fight a variety of other girls - so we are having a Saturday get together to remedy that. Whether you just want to fight someone different, have a go at electric or get in some practice,  come along at 2 pm on Saturday 31 January for that and to meet a few more fencers. Hopefully this will also lead to more sabreurs being seen on Saturdays and a wider pool of people to practice with. There’s no exclusion of the sabre boys that Saturday so we even have the chance of building a much bigger potential practice group for the future. And who know there might be a trip to the pub afterwards. For encouragement, to help get an idea of numbers and confirm your participation email Bronagh Miskelly on brom@cix.co.uk

Limited space on 7 February

Once again a function in the basement of Finsbury Centre, so we'll be using the rooms upstairs and possibly one of the badminton courts. Expect 3-5 pistes only. Apologies to the inconvenience!

Friendly people from ULU

will come around to cross swords in a team tournament (foil, epee and possibly sabre) on 14 March. That's the week before Invicta competition, so perhaps can serve as a mental warm up. If you're interested to take part, please contact Simon who is organizing this all!

Led by oligarch

A bit of international news for you. Alisher Usmanov, former Uzbek sabreur and now one of the rich men of Russia, worth estimated $5.5 billion, has recently defeated Rene Roch in the election for the FIE  (Federation Internationale D'Escrime) presidency. Usmanov, 53 made most of his fortune in metals and mining. He also owns a major part of Arsenal football club.

Usmanov had run for the FIE presidency before and lost to Rene Roch. This time Usmanov won by 66 votes to 61. He promised to bring in up to £40 million in sponsorship over the next 4 years.

In his nomination statement, Usmanov pledged to spend additional funds promoting fencing throughout the world, especially in less developed nations that currently lack the funding to send their athletes to World Cup events and develop a national fencing infrastructure. Usmanov proposes to organize new tournaments to raise the sport's profile, including the annual Masters competition that would bring together 8 best fencers in each weapon category and take place in a high-profile international venue.

 Tim Gadaski
newsletter editor


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