Houston Sword Sports watched the Olympics!

The Olympic fencing events have ended (except Pentathlon, but I don’t know any of those people). It was a great games to watch, and we’re really proud of the American fencers who brought home two silvers and two bronzes. Since many of the events happened during the day, we had to find creative ways to watch the games and still go about our normal duties.


We wanted to watch two of the men’s epee bouts at the same time, had to find creative ways of propping up the phones.

We got to show the fencers in our Bellaire fencing camp some really amazing final bouts, to give them a taste for how fencing can look when it’s being done by someone with more than a few days’ experience.

We were so caught up in the bouts we showed the kids that we forgot to take any pictures of the group watching the Olympic fencing. It basically looked like this picture, where Dan is showing the kids the pool sheet from their end-of-camp tournament.

We were so caught up in the bouts we showed the kids that we forgot to take any pictures of the group watching the Olympic fencing. It basically looked like this picture, where Dan is showing the kids the pool sheet from their end-of-camp tournament.

Coach Liz’s favorite moments of the games, in no particular order:

  • Men’s Epee: Max Heinzer of Switzerland, who I was totally rooting for initially, running off the back of the strip for no apparent reason as soon as his quarterfinal started. I started rooting for his opponent instead, Park Sangyoung of Korea…
  • and that proved a good bet since he had that amazing comeback in the final to win the gold medal.
  • Men’s Epee part 2: In the bronze, one of the guys did this amazing move where he beat six (upwards and outwards) and then hit the other guy’s foot, because the other guy was stuck in a lunge. I have been trying to replicate this in practice, but since I can’t get that low and my opponents don’t generally lunge that deeply, it has not looked nearly as cool.
  • Men’s Foil: Enzo Lefort losing his phone on strip.
  • Men’s Saber: Daryl Homer’s semifinal. The whole thing.
  • Women’s Foil: The final bout was so close, it was heartbreaking to have it end by running out of time.
  • Women’s Saber (Team): The commentators ran out of things to say about the match because Team USA was winning by so much, so they started talking about opera instead. Actually, this was not a favorite. It was just really weird. I enjoyed the rest of the bout though.
  • Women’s epee: Sadly, since I am a woman epee fencer, I did not actually get to watch any of the women’s epee.

Coach Dan’s favorite moments of the games, in no particular order:

One of our members said her takeaway from the Olympics was “I guess I do need to move more.”

So what about you? What were your favorite moments? What are you trying in practice now?

P.S. If anybody has a video or GIF of Heinzer’s boneheaded move please email it to us!

Fencing Camp Preview

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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.

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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