Friday, March 24, 2006


“Why Do I Pay A Monthly Membership Fee?”

This is a question I am asked on occasion, and it is a very valid question.

Desert Fencing Academy was created to promote and teach the sport of fencing, a pursuit it has been accomplishing since 2003.

As a club, DFA is here to serve the fencer and is completely supported by its members. The monthly membership fee is what keeps DFA in operation.

So what does your monthly membership cover? Your monthly membership covers the rental fee for the space, utilities, liability insurance, club membership in the USFA, membership in the Palm Desert Chamber of Commerce, advertising, involvement in community events, i.e., the Palm Desert Golf Cart Parade, purchase of all the fencing gear – masks, jackets, gloves, foil lames, sabre lames, dry and electrical fencing weapons, electrical scoring equipment, the washing of jackets and gloves, clothing repairs, i.e., replacing zippers and buttons, repairing and replacing electrical gear and scoring equipment, maintaining a website.

As a member, the monthly membership provides access to the club and all the fencing equipment. So, a member can come and fence when the club is open and use the fencing gear. Electrical fencing gear is also provided to the member for use in the club or when needed for a fencing tournament.

Another item the monthly membership fee covers is the travel expenses for the coach when the coach travels to tournaments. When DFA fencers are going to major tournaments, i.e., an NAC, Junior Nationals, Junior Olympics, Pacific Coast Championships and National Championships, they want the coach to be there. Most of these tournaments involve air travel, lodging and food (plus the time the club is closed when the coach is gone).

With all our members supporting DFA by their monthly membership dues, all members, from the beginning fencer to the elite competitor, can enjoy and take advantage of the fencing opportunities DFA offers.

Leslie Taft is the Head Coach of the Desert Fencing Academy. You can contact her at 760.218.1343 for any questions about the fencing program.

Monday, March 20, 2006


Fencing Update Podcasts now online!

Check out the Fencing Update podcast here. So far there are two episodes. Check them out and comment on the Fencing Update blog.

Fencing Update

Friday, March 03, 2006


Keep Training - It pays

Hello Everyone!

I thought I would share my view on training for fencing tournaments. I've seen that some fencers go to their first five tournaments and don't win any medals and give up because they think this sport is not for them. Those are people that didn't understand what it takes to be a fencer. Fencing is a lifetime sport, so it takes a lifetime of training.

You should not expect to take home a medal in your first year of competative fencing. If you do, you are exceptional, but don't beat yourself up if you don't. Each tournament is rich with lessons that are not available at practice. You've got to realize that most of the high level fencers have been fencing for at least 5 years if not ten. Then there are those fencers that have been fencing for 20 years or more consistently competative. Don't expect to beat them quite yet. There is much learning to be done.

When you are starting out, start with reachable goals such as scoring a touch on every fencer. It doesn't mean beating them, but it means getting a nice, clean touch that was undeniably yours.

Also when you are at practice, don't focus on beating everyone else, focus on your form. Don't take shortcuts, practice proper footwork, and use it on strip. Don't justify sloppy form by saying it is your style. Sloppy form means no style. So, practice your proper footwork and proper handwork. Get a partner to practice your parry riposte, fleshe, counter-fleshe. If you are a sabre fencer, do the flunge.

Use tournaments as lessons to help you know where you need your training. Don't let your ego get involved because it will blind you. Be honest with yourself, and you will get better.

If you have any comments lets here 'em! You can click on the comments button below and let us know what you think. Also if you have some training tips, let's have 'em too!

Josh Butler has been an epee fencer since 2002, and a foil fencer since 1991. Josh fences at The Desert Fencing Academy in Palm Desert, California with Head Coach Leslie Taft.

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