About the Club

Presidio Fencing Club comprises a group of fencing enthusiasts from Santa Ynez to Carpinteria. We offer group classes, open recreation, and individual lessons for novice and experienced athletes, aged 10 to Adult. The sport of fencing is great exercise and plenty of fun and we want to give everyone who has ever wanted to swing a sword in Olympic fashion an opportunity to do so.

Presidio Fencing Club is a member of the United States Fencing Association and our athletes compete in the Southern California Division. We operate under the umbrella of the Central Coast Fencing Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization (tax ID# 820540198). The club began in 2004 as a recreational outfit under the name "Santa Barbara Youth Fencers." In 2006 we changed our namesake to identify ourselves as an outpost for sport fencing in the Santa Barbara area. In 2011, we began Presidio North to offer fencing classes in Northern Santa Barbara County.

Most of Presidio's fencers are recreational athletes, coming to practices to break a sweat. A few others compete as part of a team, traveling to Los Angeles, the Bay Area, and elsewhere in the country for competition.

Fencing is a great sport for athletes in middle school and high school.  We are proud of our Varsity and Junior Varsity titles (2010, 2011, 2012,  2013, and 2016) in the Southern California Scholastic Fencing League.  Upon graduation, our young fencers have gone on to compete at both the varsity and the club level at these colleges and universities:

The Sport of Fencing

Although swordplay has been around since ancient times, it was not until the 18th Century that equipment was safe enough for sport, and rules of engagement were codified. What developed was the basis for modern fencing, one of a few sports to appear in every Olympics since 1896. It is a fast, athletic game, made up of three events:

Dubbed the "Sport of Kings," the foil is a descendant of the light, court sword formerly used by nobility to train for duels. It has a flexible, rectangular blade approximately 35 inches in length and weighing less than one pound. Points are scored with the tip of the blade and must land on valid target: torso, from shoulders to groin in the front, and shoulders to the waist in the back.

Foil employs rules of right of way. The fencer who starts to attack first is given priority should his opponent counter-attack.

An electrical scoring system detects hits on valid target. Each foil has a blunt, spring-loaded button at the point of the blade that must be depressed with a pressure of 500 grams or more to register a hit. The foil fencer?s uniform features an electrically wired metallic vest called a lamé - a hit to the lamé causes the scoring machine to display a colored light on the side of the fencer that scored the touch.

Épée: The epee (pronounced EPP-pay - literally meaning "sword" in French) is the descendant of the dueling sword. It is heavier than the foil, weighing approximately 27 ounces, with a stiffer, thicker blade and a larger guard. As in foil, touches are scored only with the point of the blade; however, in epee the entire body, head-to-toe, is valid target - much like in an actual duel. There is no concept of "off-target" in epee. Some people refer to epee as "Freestyle Fencing" because anything goes.

Saber: The saber is the modern version of the slashing cavalry sword. As such, the major difference between saber and the other two weapons is that saberists can score with the edge of their blade as well as their point. In saber, the target area is the entire body above the waist, excluding the hands. In addition, saber has rules of right of way which are very similar to foil but with subtle differences.

At Presidio Fencing Club, we consider the Epee and Saber to be advanced weapons. Seniors (i.e. those aged 13+), may choose to practice these  weapons during sparring.



Photo courtesy of Doug Golupski

Tim Robinson is the head coach and owner of Presidio Fencing Club. He also coaches at UCSB, where he has held a lecturer position in the Exercise and Sports Studies Department  since 2002. He has attended the US Fencing Coaches College at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs and he holds the rank of Prevot d'Armes, a professional coaching certificate, with the US Fencing Coaches Association and the International Academy of Arms.

Coach Robinson takes a personal interest in the health and fitness of his fencers. His focus with the youth fencers, especially, is on functional and athletic development, with an emphasis on kinesthetic awareness and motor skills improvement. This dedication earned him a Coach of the Year award from SBParent.com in 2008. The next year, one of his first youth students, Cameron Westbury, was Division II National Champion at the US Fencing Summer National Championships.

Salle Updates: News and Information

5/26/16: Summer vacation

There will be no practices in the month of July. Our last practice for this season will be June 30. We will re-open in mid-August. Stay tuned for end-of-the-year announcements and updates.

5/7/16: Tournament Recap; Li earns his E!

Congratulations to Li Meinhold for earning his E rating at the San Luis Highlanders tournament last Saturday. He finished 1st out of 15. He had to out-fence Rich Kaplan in the round of 8. Rich finished 6th.

Congratulations also to Wyatt Spencer, who finished in 1st place overall in the Youth 10/12 age group after a season of fencing. Second and third places went to fencers from San Luis Highlanders. Kaleb Jordan from Points West Ventura, won the Youth 14 age group, with Nathasha Weiss finishing in 2nd place overall.

And the Dunn School took home the first Central Coast High School Fencing Championship.

There is one more local tournament left this season: that's the San Luis Obispo Open, held annually on Memorial Day weekend. Find it on askFred.

4/9/16: Tournament Recap

Kudos to Natasha Weiss, Nicholas Romasanta, Wyatt Spencer, Calvin Weimbs, Mila Speer, and Matthew Kowalski for their performances at the Central Coast Youth Tournament today at Points West Fencing in Ventura. Natasha finished with the silver in the Y14; Nicholas finished 4th. In the Youth 12, Wyatt defeated teammate Calvin for the bronze, and Mila finished 5th. Matthew placed 7th.

The final Central Coast Youth Tournament will be held in San Luis Obispo on May 7.

To prepare, there will be a clinic on competitive fencing on April 23 in Los Olivos. We'll talk about a number of issues related to competition, and then hold some mini tournaments organized by age. The clinic will be open to all fencers under the age of 18.

3/6/16: Two Fencing Gold Medals from the Weekend

I am excited to report on two gold medals for the weekend!

Today, three of our fencers, Yoseph Alabdulwahab, Jean-Michel Ricard, and Carter Block, formed a team to represent Dos Pueblos High School at the Scholastic Team Foil tournament down in Los Angeles. The Southern California Scholastic Fencing League is an arena for competition among those schools who have varsity fencing as part of their athletic programs. These schools include Victory Valley, Harvard Westlake, Chaminade, one of the VAPA campuses in Los Angeles, and then the occasional guest school -- like us. I am proud to report that our fencers from Dos Pueblos finished first in their division.

Congratulations Yoseph, Jean-Michel, and Carter!

And a DPHS alum, Sean Strong, traveled with the Stanford fencing team to Colorado Springs, where he competed in the NCAA Western Region Championships. In one grueling pool comprising 18 of the best NCAA fencers this side of the Mississippi, Sean pulled out all the stops and finished 14-3. He tied for victories with the number one ranked fencer, but squeaked away with the gold medal by having scored two more points than his rival. This first-place finish is an incredible accomplishment for an athlete in his freshman year, and it qualifies Sean to the NCAA national championships later this month. Only 24 athletes in each event will qualify.

1/18/16: Tournament Updates from around the world and this week's exercise prescription

It was a good weekend to be a fencer, especially an American Foil Fencer. At a competition in Paris, Race Imboden won the gold, and the United States also took first in the team event. These accomplishments are making for an exciting Olympic Summer. I can't wait!

Here in Southern California, we had a few competitions as well. Presidio alum Sean Strong led the Stanford epee team to victory at an NCAA invitational at UC San Diego. The UCSB fencing team showed up to a collegiate club meet at UC Riverside and tromped over all the other schools in attendance. Lucas Nichols competed in a USFA foil tournament, also in Riverside, and took the silver medal. And while that was happening, Li Meinhold and Theo Funk entered a Regional Youth Circuit event in Los Alamitos. As luck would have it, they ended up having to fence each other in the round of 64 and finished 16th and 17th respectively, out of 42 fencers.

This particular Regional Youth Circuit is called the South Coast Invitational, and it is held in Los Alamitos every year. I would like to challenge all of the youth fencers at Presidio to start training now in order to enter the competition in 2017.

I am prescribing those same 4 Exercises for this week: Split Squats--Pushups--Jumps--Dips, in that order, with 20 seconds active and 10 seconds rest. Perhaps we'll set up a new routine next week, but for now keep doing this. In each 20 second burst, you should be trying to do as many repetitions of the exercise as you can.

And finally, be sure to sign up for the Youth tournament at UCSB this Saturday. I sent an email about this already to all the eligible fencers, but please let me know if you have any questions.

1/10/16: Theo Brown Wins his E-rating

I am sending a HUGE congratulations to Theo Brown of Los Olivos for winning the unrated foil tournament last Saturday and earning his E2016 rating. What a great way to start the new year. I would also like to acknowledge Li Meinhold for taking silver, and Jean-Michel Ricard for tying for the bronze. And since Yoseph Alabdulwahab came in fifth place, it looks like Presidio almost swept the medals. We even won medals in epee and saber! A complete list of results can be found here.

Please remember to do your 4-exercise workouts even when you are not at practice.

Finally, the UCSB fencing team is still looking to hold a Central Coast Youth Tournament at UCSB on Jan. 23. I'll send a link to this list once preregistration is available. I think the event will start around 10 am.

12/31/15: Happy New Year!

Classes resume on Tuesday, January 5 at the Westside Community Center. Come with your hand positions memorized.



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