Fencing Seminars

Foil Academy 2017

Group fencing class and special seminar

Foil Academy 2017

Foil Academy 2017 was a two-day fencing seminar with the Humboldt State University Fencing Club and Destreza Pacifica. 10 fencers from Humboldt made the voyage from Arcata on Friday night before the seminar for dinner with local students. Instruction began with a group warm up lead by Edward Sandoval before everyone donned their white jackets. I had the pleasure of introducing (for the first time wearing his black jacket) Maestro Antone Blair. Maestro Blair had only last November been awarded the rank of Fencing Master by the Martinez Academy of Arms. It was a pleasure to work beside him this year. After a group salute we began to work!

Foil Academy provided an opportunity for intense training on fencing fundamentals. This year we focused on guard placement and point accuracy in a variety of techniques. Maestro Blair and I helped each fencer understand these fundamentals in relation to their experience level. We worked on the attacks in-line and offline, the parry & repost with redirection and opposition, and the prises de fer.

Plastron Lessons

Maestro Blair and myself offered plastron lessons at Foil Academy 2017. Plastron lessons are short individual lessons demanding correct technique in a controlled environment. They’re very important for intermediate students to excel beyond peer-to-peer group classes. Maestro Blair was particularly in-demand this year and I had to open more availability. He taught nearly an hour and a half of these lessons to the senior students each day of Foil Academy 2017.

Lots of Fencing

Each day ended with at least an hour of fencing. Students tested their skill in the free assaults with every available partner. We scheduled more free assaults this year in preparation for the Redwood Coast Assault of Arms, Humboldt’s annual tournament only three weeks away. Four Golden Gate School of Arms students will be competing at Humboldt this year. You can view the video of the first day’s free assaults here, and the second day’s assaults here.


“As can be expected of Instructor Bowles, Foil Academy 2017 was excellent. While we didn’t go over many advanced techniques as last year, hearing a different perspective on the basics of French Foil was extremely beneficial to myself and I’m sure to the other participants as well. The event itself was well organized with plenty of time for instruction, free fencing, plastron lessons, and socializing as well. Unfortunately, due to the weather our outdoor dueling lesson by Maestro Blair were cut short. As usual the members of the Golden Gate School of Arms were friendly and welcoming. To anyone thinking about attending next year I would highly recommend it.” -Alex DeMuynck, HSU Fencing Club Member.

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