Red Door Fencing, located in Des Moines’ historic East Village, is an epee and saber club that promotes competitive and recreational fencing by providing quality instruction, a safe and supportive training environment, and fostering personal growth and community engagement. We are an affiliate member of USA Fencing, the national governing body for the sport in the U.S.

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February Learn to Fence Sessions

So far, we have two Learn to Fence sessions on the calendar for February:

Saturday, Feb. 14
10 am – 12 pm

Adult/Teen Learn to Fence Session

If you’ve ever wanted to try fencing, or if you’re looking for something new for the new year, this is a great way to see if the sport is for you. We’ll teach you the basics of epee fencing and then you will get to try out your new skills fencing others in the class. All equipment is provided, but please wear athletic clothes – you’ll be up and moving a lot! Cost is $20 per person.

 Sign Up

Saturday, Feb. 14
1-3 pm

Couples Valentine’s Day Learn to Fence Session

Looking for a unique Valentine’s Day date? Try fencing! We’ll teach you the basics of epee fencing, and you’ll get to try out your new skills on your partner/spouse/date. This is a special session for couples, but if you don’t have a partner, you can sign up for the regular adult session in the morning. Cost is $20 per person ($40 per couple). All equipment is provided, but please wear athletic clothes – you will be up and moving a lot!

 Sign Up

Fencer Wedding

Don’t worry, you won’t be using foam swords.

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New Schedule Starts January 5, 2015

Starting January 5th, we are making a few changes to our schedule. These new hours will help accommodate the changing schedule of some of our coaches, as well as bring our saber practice to a time that is accessible to more people. Due to the disparity of available coaching between epee and saber, we are dropping dues for saber-only members down to $10 per month. Monthly dues are still $40 for epee and epee/saber fencers.

The new 2015 schedule will look like this:

2nd & 4th Mondays of the month: (new schedule)
Youth Saber Practice: 5-6pm
Adult Saber Practice: 6-8pm

Tuesday: (same as before)
Conditioning: 6-7pm
Adult Epee Practice: 7-9pm

Wednesday: (new schedule)
Youth Epee Practice: 6-7pm
Adult: 7-9pm

Thursday: (same as before)
Youth Epee Practice: 5-6pm
Conditioning: 6-7pm
Adult Epee Practice: 7-9pm

Saturdays we will remain open on non-tournament weekends from 8-11am for conditioning and an open (both weapons) practice.

As in the past, adult saber fencers are welcome to come to conditioning and practice saber during the adult epee practice times – there just won’t be a saber coach there.

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Holiday Hours

Red Door Fencing will be closed for a few short periods during the holiday season to let our fencers and coaches relax and spend time with their families.

We will be closed on:

Thursday and Friday, November 27th and 28th
Wednesday, December 24th through Friday, January 2nd
Snow fencers

And by relax, we mean build snow-fencers.

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Learn to Fence Dates – Oct. 5 and Nov. 1

RDF is pleased to announce our next Learn to Fence class dates:

Sunday, Oct. 5 (the day after our tournament)
Kids ages 7-12: 1-3 pm
Adults and teens: 3-5 pm

Saturday, Nov. 1
Kids ages 7-12: 10 am-12 pm
Adults and teens: 1-3pm

If you’ve ever wanted to try fencing, this is a great opportunity for you! Students will learn the basics of Olympic-style epee and saber fencing and get to fence each other. All equipment is provided, but please wear athletic clothes, specifically pants and close-toed shoes.

Cost is $20 per person.

Sign up here!


Fall 2014 Learn to Fence Flier

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RDF to Host October Open Tournament

RDF is hosting our first real tournament on Saturday, October 4 at Valley Southwoods Freshman High School! Be sure to sign up on askFred:

10 a.m. – Open Mixed Epee
2 p.m. – Open Mixed Saber

The times listed are close of registration. Fencers should arrive about an hour in advance to warm up and get in a practice bout or two. Fencing will begin shortly after we close registration.

The events are open to athletes ages 13+, both men and women. Spectators are, of course, always welcome and it’s free to come watch!


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Saber Schedule Change

As most of our sabereurs know, Coach Caylin’s schedule has changed, so saber practice has been moved to Friday nights. Saber fencers are also welcome to come Tuesdays and Thursdays for conditioning and footwork. They can also fence while the epeeists are doing drills and bouting – there just won’t be a saber coach there. And Saturday morning practice is both epee and saber.

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Thank you, Coach RJ! Welcome, Coach Caylin!

As most of our fencers and families already know, Coach RJ is moving to Pennsylvania  in a couple weeks. RJ was instrumental in starting this club and has been doing an excellent job coaching our saber fencers since we opened in January 2014. We are sad to lose such a great coach, training partner, and friend, but we are excited for RJ as he moves on to his next adventure! RJ’s last practice as a coach at RDF will be Thursday, August 7.

We would also like to welcome Coach Caylin to RDF! Caylin learned to fence in the Kansas City area and will be taking over our saber program. She has a great eye for the game, and we’re looking forward to working with her!

RJ and Caylin

Coach RJ and Caylin at Iowa Games. RJ is moving away and Caylin will be our new saber coach!


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Iowa Division Referee Clinic at RDF Sept. 13-14

The Iowa Division of USA Fencing is holding a referee clinic/rules seminar on September 13-14 and Red Door Fencing is pleased to be hosting the event in our space. It’s free for all Iowa Division USA Fencing members to attend (you will need to join USA Fencing to compete in most tournaments anyway), thanks to the Iowa Division subsidizing it for us. The clinic will be led by Jon Moss, a highly respected national and international referee.

Find more info and sign up here:

This is a great opportunity for anyone who is interested in being a better referee and understanding the rules better, even if you aren’t interested in becoming a rated referee.

If you ARE interested in becoming a rated referee, you’ll want to look at the Fencing Officials Commission website:

Another great way to practice, besides refereeing in club of course, is the Badgermille site: You can watch videos, vote on what you think is the correct call, and then see how others, including FIE referees, would call it.

It would also be a good idea to read the USA Fencing rule book:


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Iowa Games Results

Ames, IA - Six epeeists and 4 saber fencers from RDF competed at Iowa Games this Saturday. It was the first tournament for several, and the first tournament in a long time for a couple others, and a low-key, friendly competition overall.

Full epee results can be found here:

Saber results can be found here:

Iowa Games sabereurs

Our saber crew at Iowa Games. From left: Derek, Sammy, RJ, Caylin, Shelton, and Tucker.

Iowa Games Epeeists

Our epeeists at Iowa Games. From left: Chris, Jim, Julia, Connor, Mike, and Carl.

Posted in Tournament Results

Summer Nationals & July NAC Results

Sarah thinks it's great that Columbus does such a great job publicizing the tournament with signs like this at businesses around town.

Columbus, OH – This past week, two RDF fencers competed at Summer Nationals and the July North American Cup.

Saber coach RJ Lesch fenced Vet-50 Men’s Saber on Tuesday and placed 19th of 32, missing the round of 16 by only 2 touches. Then on Wednesday, he fenced a tough pool in Division 3 Men’s Saber. In the direct elimination round, he significantly improved his performance against an opponent who had beaten him in pool and ended 98th of 126.

RJ in Ohio

Coach RJ by the finals strip at Summer Nationals in Columbus, OH.

Youth epee coach Sarah Timmons Powell fenced several close 5-point pool bouts in Division 1 Women’s Epee but couldn’t pull off enough victories to make the cut into the direct elimination round. She ended 139th of 163.

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Red Door Fencing
220 E. 3rd St. (Lower Level)
Des Moines, IA 50309


Monday* 5-8 pm
Tuesday & Wednesday 6-9 pm
Thursday 5-9:30 pm
Saturday 8:00-11:00 am
Closed Friday & Sunday
*2nd & 4th Mondays of the month only

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