Theo Funk, Presidio Alum Keric Moore, and Li Meinhold
at the 2014 SoCal Musketeer Regional Youth Circuit. Li and
Theo finished 7th and 8th respectively in the Youth 12 Mens Foil.
Sean Strong at the 2014 Summer National Championships,
where he finished in 7th place.

Salle Updates: News and Information

7/6/15: Summer Nationals Recap

There are three large bodies of sport fencing in the United States, and each has its own Championship event.  Two of these organizations, the NCAA and the USACFC, promote college-level fencing.  The third organization is the United States Fencing Association, also known as US Fencing.  

US Fencing's Summer National Championships is not just the largest fencing tournament in the US; it is the largest sporting event, period.  The logistics are amazing.  Thousands of athletes take over a convention center for a period of 12 days.  Hundreds of referees keep order on hundreds of strips as fencers from every state pour everything they have into making the podium.  As I mentioned in an earlier email, Santa Barbara sent eight people.  

The UCSB fencers fared pretty well.  Jason Lipton, the UCSB Men's Epee captain, was the first to compete.  He went undefeated in the preliminary round and was seeded 4th going into Direct Eliminations.  Kevin Fuller also went undefeated in the pools, but couldn't seem to figure out the left-handedness of his opponent in his first elimination match.  Justin Makino was one point away from winning his pool.  He fenced hard until the round of 32, when his legs cramped and he collapsed on the strip.  Emily and Christian, the saber fencers, did well in their pools, but they went out in the first or second elimination matches.

From Presidio, there was Sean Strong, Harriet Eckstein, and Lucas Nichols.  Sean's first event was Division 1 Epee.  Div 1 is where the biggest fish swim, all hoping to make the US International Team.  The competition is fierce and Sean did not make the cut after the preliminary round.  In fact, he missed that cut by one point.  He fared a little better in the Junior Epee (which is where the top fencers under 20 years old are trying to make their age-specific international team).  He managed two upsets in the elimination round, but couldn't defeat Justin Yoo, losing 12-15 in the round of 32.  Justin is a world silver-medalist.  

Neither Harriet nor Lucas made the elimination rounds in their events.  But they didn't leave the tournament empty-handed.  Both spent time with US Olympians, and they have the selfies to prove it.

Remember: there is no practice tomorrow, July 7.  We will resume on Thursday, July 9, at the Westside Neighborhood Center.

6/25/15: Summer National Championships, June 26 - July 6

Remember: no practice June 30 through July 7 due to the National Championships in San Jose.  

We have a number of Santa Barbara athletes competing. I list them here in order of the days they're fencing:

You can follow the results live at this website:

Starting July 9, our Tuesday and Thursday practices will both be held at the Westside Neighoborhood Center.  They will stay there through September.

6/7/15: Happy Graduation

As we move our tassels to the other side of our cap, I wanted to take a moment to acknowledge our graduating high school seniors. This year, there are five graduates at Presidio Fencing Club, and they all hail from Dos Pueblos High School. Due to senior engineering projects, and in some cases "senioritis," we don't see many of them at practices these days. But they're still around, and they deserve recognition.

-Nick Cleland will be digging into some deep dish pizza at the University of Chicago.
-Isabella Franco will have to take up surfing at UC San Diego.
-Spencer Mullanix will need a rain jacket at the University of Washington, Seattle.
-Matt Schmidt will be searching for mermaids as a nuclear tech on a Navy sub.
-And Sean Strong will finally be able to explain what's so scary about a Tree after attending Stanford.

At least Isabella and Sean will have opportunities for NCAA fencing when they go to their universities. I am familiar with UCSD's fencing, since the UCSB team regularly competes against them in conference play. And Stanford is regarded as the top college fencing program on the West Coast. Also, Nick will find himself at home in a fairly competitive club program in Illinois. I met some of the U. Chicago fencers when I took the UCSB team to Club Nationals in Pennsylvania last April. I am not sure about the fencing at the University of Washington, although Seattle has a couple of top-notch private clubs. And as for Matt, well, the Navy doesn't let their sub technicians see much daylight in the first few years of service.

Congratulations, graduates!

5/24/15: Tournaments Highlights

In case you missed practice last Thursday, we had a plate full of chocolate and some ice cream cake to celebrate Jeff Van Housen's birthday. Since Jeff holds the record for the longest continuous fencing career among Santa Barbara residents, I figured a small celebration was in order. If you haven't had the privilege of sparring with him on a Thursday night, then you're really missing out.  Happy Birthday, Jeff!

And in case you're wondering how the 8th Annual SLO Memorial Day Open wrapped up, you can find the results at Of note, Sean Strong took the silver medal in the men's epee.  He lost to the reigning champion by one touch: 14-15.  Good fight, Sean!  Perhaps you'll get another shot at the Div 1A National Championships in San Jose next month.

I hope everyone had a nice three-day weekend.  I'll see you all on Tuesday and Thursday for practice. 

5/5/15: Tournaments Highlights

What a Saturday for sports! There was a big horse race in Kentucky, a highly anticipated boxing match in Vegas, and an intense basketball playoff in LA. And then there was the final Central Coast Youth Fencing Tournament of the season held in San Luis Obispo.

Thank you to everyone who showed up and made Saturday such a fun event. And to those parents who might have seen fencing for the first time, now you know what the sport is. Now you see why we train. I remember when I first started the club and many people asked me, “Fencing? Why would you do that? We don't fight with swords anymore.” OK. Maybe, we don't need to worry about dueling on the green at sunrise. So why do we fence?  For that matter, why do we play any sports?

We play to improve strength, balance, and overall health; to understand strategy; to learn about time management and discipline; to push ourselves; to make friends and build camaraderie; and to have fun. Fencing provides all of this and more. My early critics could not grasp the concept of fencing as a modern sport because they had never seen it. Their understanding was wrapped around characters like Zorro and d'Artagnon, and not the highly-trained athletes of today whose training involves as much critical thinking as it does controlled and explosive movement. It is my hope that, having seen the passion and intensity of your children at Saturday's fencing tournament, you will be able to help me educate those people who think fencing is just about swordfighting.

Now, here are the tournament medalists:

Youth 14
Gold: Theo Funk, Presidio Santa Barbara
Silver: Li Meinhold, Presidio Santa Barbara
Bronze: Theo Brown, Presidio Los Olivos

Youth 12
Gold: Kaleb Jordan, Points West Ventura
Silver: Kincade Avery, Presidio Santa Barbara
Bronze: Clayton Wicka, San Luis Obispo Highlanders

Youth 10
Gold: Boris Peljhan, Presidio Santa Barbara
Silver: Calvin Weimbs, Presidio Santa Barbara
Bronze: Erik Elmfors, Presidio Santa Barbara

Since this was a circuit, points carried over from previous events and the overall season winners were announced:

Youth 14
1st Theo Funk, Presidio Santa Barbara
2nd Li Meinhold, Presidio Santa Barbara
3rd Zach Seaman, Presidio Los Olivos

Youth 12
1st Kaleb Jordan, Points West Ventura
2nd Kincade Avery, Presidio Santa Barbara
3rd Clayton Wicka, San Luis Obispo Highlanders

Youth 10
1st Boris Peljhan, Presidio Santa Barbara
2nd Calvin Weimbs, Presidio Santa Barbara
3rd Hank Molina, Presidio Los Olivos

4/26/15: Tournaments and Results

UCSB Fencing's "Ole! Open" was fun, although small, and Presidio athletes fared pretty well. The Mixed Foil was won by Walter Goodwater, who coaches the Los Olivos classes. This victory renewed Walter's C-rating with US Fencing. Second and third places went to UCSB fencers, with Jeff Van Housen tieing for third. I want to acknowledge Matt Kuiken and Lucas Nichols, who both renewed their E-ratings by finishing in the top 8. And I want give special acknowledgement to Carter Block, who earned his E by defeating Jean-Michel Ricard. That match, Block v Ricard, was one of the most important matches of the day. Both were from Presidio. Both attend DPHS. And both were currently unrated fencers, hungry for that top-8 finish. What a match-up!

The Mixed Epee tournament only had 12 entrants -- and two of them were very strong, A-rated fencers. One A was the UCSB men's epee captain. The other was a woman from the Bay Area who was once a pentathlete for Poland, and who is currently ranked 7th in the USA. Needless to say, the final match between them was very exciting. Fortunately for Santa Barbara, the UCSB fencer came out on top, after coming back with a 12-3 run in the final period. And congratulations to Randy Bublitz for taking the bronze medal in this small but difficult event.

I hope everyone who participated enjoyed the "Second Chance" tournaments. The provided for a considerable amount of extra fencing. Congratulations to Sasha Orodjiev for taking the bronze in the second chance foil, and to Matt Kuiken for taking silver in the second chance epee.

And now, on to the next tournament. This Saturday, in SLO is a Youth tournament at 9:30 in the morning, and then an unrated tournament at 1:00 pm. Email me if you are interested in attending one or both of these events. In preparation, I would like to give the youth fencers at the club a little extra time on the electric scoring machines this Tues and Thurs. If you are an older or more experienced fencer, then please help me help our young athletes prepare for the weekend.

And if you are really digging the competitions, then the annual SLO Open, held every Memorial Day weekend, has announced pre-registration. Walter, along with the Cal Poly SLO team, put on a good tournament, and this year should be an even bigger draw than in 2014. The event will take place on May 23. Pre-register on AskFred:

4/18/15: Upcoming tournaments and other announcements

As you may have heard, I traveled with the UCSB Fencing Team traveled to Pennsylvania for our first experience at Collegiate National Championships. There, we had one fencer take the bronze medal in the individual men's epee finals.  Our men's saber squad placed 6th. Men's foil finished 10th. Men's epee came in 23rd.  Women's saber finished 13th.  We did not field teams in women's foil or women's epee. There were some 50 total colleges in attendance, and so we feel pretty good about our performance. The UCSB students are especially energized right now and ready for more fencing.

Tournament, April 25:
On April 25, the UCSB fencing club is hosting a fundraiser tournament.  Everyone born in 2001 or earlier is welcome to attend, but you have to make sure you upgrade your USFA membership to "competitive."  Fortunatey, if you upgrade this late in the season, then it will last through July 2016!  Please handle the membership upgrade as soon as possible.  I would prefer not to do it the day of the event.  Also, becuase the tournament on the 25th is a USFA sanctioned event, all participants have to have their own gear, including fencing pants.  

The exciting thing about the UCSB tournament is that we will separate the experienced from the less-experienced fencers after an intial round of pools.  This means even the beginners have a chance to make a medal round, and they're not going to get whooped on by someone with ten times more experience.  Find more information and pre-register here:

Tournament, May 2:
On May 2, up in SLO, there will be a senior tournament (fencers born in 2001 or earlier) and a youth tournament (fencers born in 2000 or later).  The senior tournament is for unrated fencers only, and it is a USFA-sanctioned meet, meaning participants must be competitive members of the USFA, and they must have their own gear.  Pre-registration is available here:

The Youth Event on May 2 is unsanctioned, however, and therefore open to ages 8-14 with the basic USFA membership OR the competitive membership.  This tournament is a tad more introductory, and the organizers do their best to make sure everyone gets the equipment they need.  So, if you want to try a tournament, but you do not have all the gear, then you should still be able to participate.  There is no link to pre-register.  Just send me an email.


In preparation for the two tournaments listed above, you can expect to see more sparring over the next two weeks, and I will try to go over equipment maintenance with everyone.  I will bring some tools to help check weapons and body cords, and provide advice on how to clean and care for electrical jackets and other equipment.  Please let me know if you have questions.

3/24/15: National Championship Qualifiers

The swords have ceased their clashing and the dust has settled to the floor. These six athletes remain, ready to carry the fight to San Jose and the 2015 National Championships in June.

  1. Harriet Eckstein: Vet Women's Foil
  2. Theo Funk: Youth 12 Men's Foil
  3. Matt Kuiken: Div 3 Men's Epee, Vet Men's Epee, Vet Men's Foil, Vet Men's Saber
  4. Li Meinhold: Youth 12 Men's Foil
  5. Lucas Nichols: Div 3 Men's Foil
  6. Sean Strong: Div 1A Men's Epee

There were also a handful of fencers from the UCSB team who qualified. Congratulations to our Santa Barbara fencers. And congratulations to those who may not have qualified, but who put themselves out there in an attempt.

I am looking forward to the lessons as we start with Spring quarter.  Also, I am looking forward to a busy tournament schedule:

Sprinkled between these weekends are a number of other events in Los Angeles and Orange County. All tournament information can be found on

3/4/15: Updates

Congratulations to the UCSB Fencing team. They finished 2nd in their conference and are on their way to the Club Fencing National Championships in Pennsylvania, April 10-13.

Many people have asked about carpools to practices. Shall we try to establish some ride-shares again? Send an email if you are interested.

There are a number of tournaments coming up in Thousand Oaks and Los Angeles in March and April for the competitive fencers. The UCSB team will host a meet in late April. The San Luis Highlanders will host a Youth tournament in May. And the Cal Poly SLO team will host a meet in late May. Look for registration on

2/7/15: Tournament Results

Saturday was fun. Sure, there were some bumps in the beginning. This was a learning experience for the UCSB students. But in the end, I think everyone had a good time. The Youth 14 tournament had 6 entrants. The Youth 10/Youth 12 tournament has 7 entrants. To maximize practice time, we fenced out all places, and I think everyone learned something. Then, for the team event, we had 11 teams of 3 fencers each. We formed teams of mixed ability levels in an attempt to foster a community beyond club walls. Some teams had UCSB fencers, Presidio fencers, and Points West fencers all working together to win. What an experience!

You can find the results for all events here:

And to those who competed, I just wanted to take a moment to thank you for daring a tournament. Fencing tournaments are an important part of learning the sport. Tournaments give us a metric for improvement, and they provide an opportunity to meet and spar with people outside of the club. Our next Central Coast Youth tournament will be held in May in SLO. Following the meet, there will also be another team tournament -- this time for high school athletes.

Competitive fencers should keep an eye on You'll have a number of tournaments in Long Beach, Los Angeles, and San Luis Obispo over the next few months. Additionally, the SoCal Summer Nationals Qualifiers will be held in Thousand Oaks in March. As always, feel free to email me with questions about whether or not a particular tournament is right for you.

Thank you, UCSB Fencing, for running the event.

1/24/15: A New A-rated Fencer in SB

Congratulations to Jason Lipton, the UCSB Epee Captain, for making the quarter finals at the Battle in Seattle.  This finish at a Division 1A tournament allwed Jason to claim his A'2015 rating in Epee.  A sophomore at UCSB, Jason won the 2013 Division III National Championships in Columbus, Ohio.  We are excited to have another A-rated fencer in our ranks.

Another great finish from the weekend goes to Matt Kuiken, Presidio's sole saber fencer.  Matt finished with the bronze medal at the Orange Coast tournament today in Long Beach, re-earning his D rating.  He also met with some success in the epee event.  Congratulations, Matt and Jason. 

Remember, the Central Coast Youth Circuit Event will be held at UCSB on February 7th at 10 am.  You should have received more information via email.  Please email Tim if this is the first you're hearing of the event.  Following the youth tournament, the UCSB Club is hosting an informal and fun team foil tournament.  Email for more information. 



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