Two Years at Houston Sword Sports

Hi guys, Coach Liz here.

January 2017 marked the two year anniversary of our club’s first classes. We had so much going on in January – from bringing Benoit on board to scheduling our summer camps, plus a few things still in the works – that we sort of forgot to celebrate. But let me say that the last two years have been a total blast, and I am so thrilled to see where things end up.

One of our very first practices at the Bellaire Rec Center, January 15, 2015.

When we first started, we were holding three classes a week at the Bellaire Rec – one kids’ class (for ages 8-18), one adult class in the evenings, and another in the afternoons. We also had two afterschool classes going – one of which, at Herod Elementary, is still going strong in its fifth semester.

Our first semester at Herod. There were about twelve kids.


Our second semester at Herod, there were almost twenty kids.

We closed our first year having seen huge growth. We went from two coaches with one scoring set and a nice website, to a robust club with enthusiastic fencers, four qualified coaches, three strips, and equipment for about 20 fencers. Some of our classes were small – many times, the teen class only had one fencer in it. But other classes, especially our evening adult classes, were about as big as they could get.

Camp Cutlass was a week-long camp we did in Galveston, in partnership with Galveston Fencing Club.

Early 2016 saw even more growth. We added two middle school classes through a grant with Citizen Schools. In February, we started holding Saturday classes at The Zone. Our first classes there were free intro classes and we had about a dozen kids and over seventy adults try fencing. Our teen classes grew bigger and so did our youth classes.

The crowd at our first Saturday class plays the Advance-Lunge Game.

In Fall 2016 we added a second teen class, so we now offer classes four nights a week at the Bellaire Rec, plus Saturday classes at The Zone. Every age group has at least three classes they can attend per week. We keep adding new schools, with a total of six after-school programs and several more planned for Fall 2017.

Kids at Presbyterian school practice the lunge. We started teaching classes at Presbyterian in Fall 2016 with twenty-three students – our biggest class yet.

Like I said in the beginning of this post, we have some really exciting stuff still in the works. As soon as we know more, we’ll be sure to tell you! We hope to do more of everything – more classes, more schools, more camps, more tournaments, and overall more fencing. Houston Sword Sports is growing. I can’t wait to see where we go from here.



Fencing Camp Preview

2015-07-11 14.37.45

We’ve got two camps down in our summer schedule, and two camps to go. The next one starts on Monday and we’re getting excited! This one will be held at Westbury Christian School in southwest Houston and is open to all kids from grades 3-12. A summer camp is a great way to experience fencing for the first time. Kids learn the basic skills they need to start quickly and have a chance to apply those skills immediately. If you have a child (or are a child) who’s interested in starting this fun, fast-paced sport, camp is the perfect way to jump-start your fencing career.

So what can you expect at fencing camp? We like to change up the format a little based on the ages, abilities and interests of the kids in attendance, but we have an outline we follow.


Each day starts with some fun games to warm up: sometimes simple games, like relay races; sometimes more interesting games like ultimate Frisbee or a dodgeball-style game called Zombie Tag. The goal of these games is to get kids moving and focused. Next, we move to conditioning – activities that increase the fencer’s coordination, strength, and speed. Then it’s time for footwork. On the first day, we teach campers the core building blocks of fencing footwork: the advance, the retreat, and the lunge. On the following days, we use these steps to create more complicated footwork patterns. We teach students to vary the size and speed of their steps, and tricks that will help them disguise their movement.

Once warmed up and ready to go, we help the kids suit up. New fencers are provided with the basic safety gear: chest protector, underarm protector, jacket, glove, and mask. Then, the campers get the one thing they’ve been wanting to play with since they first found out about fencing camp: the sword. Our beginner camps teach foil fencing, because the foil is lightweight (making it good for smaller fencers) and teaches skills that they can later translate into the other weapons.

We develop tactically over the course of the camp, day one focuses on simple attacks and the use of distance in setting up and defending them – it’s important to learn to use your feet to get you out of the trouble they got you into. Day 2 adds defense with the blade – the parry and riposte – and other blade actions. The rest of the week is about how to prepare these actions to make them more effective and some different variations on them.

2015-06-12 15.33.52

On the last day, we hold a tournament so the kids can put their skills to the test. We follow a standard USA Fencing format for the tournament: a pool, where each participant fences every other participant in a five-point bout; and a direct elimination tableau using the rankings from the pool. The fencers demonstrate how much they’ve learned during the week and get a taste for fencing competition. We also invite parents to observe the tournament, which provides for great photo ops and helps the parents understand what their kids have been learning all week.

Over the week, campers develop the basics of fencing footwork, bladework and tactics. They experience a variety of different drills and games to implement these techniques. And they fence in a tournament with the other campers. In all, campers get a great fencing experience condensed into one week.

Want to join the fun?

Westbury Camp: July 20-24, 1-4pm, $145
Westbury Christian School, 10420 Hillcroft St, Houston, TX 77096
Sign up

Bellaire Camp: August 3-7, 1-5pm, $195
Bellaire City Hall, 7008 S Rice Ave, Bellaire, TX 77401
Sign up

, ,

Announcing Camp Cutlass!

Houston Sword Sports and the Galveston Fencing Club are teaming up to present Camp Cutlass 2015!

Join Houston Sword Sports and Galveston Fencing Club in sunny Galveston, home of the nefarious pirate Jean Laffite. Develop your core skills and refine your tactics. Spend your day with conditioning, footwork, tactical drills and games, and fencing. Beginning, intermediate and advanced fencers will receive customized instruction designed for their level. After camp, bring your parents for group excursions to the beach, the Strand, and other famous Galveston attractions.

This is going to be a fun camp to work on fundamental techniques and tactics, while helping fencers develop a sense of play and creativity that will allow them to grow as fencers. The sense of play gives fencers confidence going into new situations and helps them learn to apply their skills in new and exciting ways.

We invite all fencers 8-17 to join us for this camp.


O’Connell High School
1320 Tremont St.
Galveston, TX 77550


Monday, June 15 through Friday, June 19
Camp is daily from 9:00am-3:00pm.

Camp Fees

$75 non-refundable deposit is due at registration with the balance due at the start of the camp.

Sign up on!