Red Door Fencing coaches

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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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. We will post the final placings as soon as they’re available.

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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Iowa Games Fencing July 19


If  you’re not going to Summer Nationals/July NAC, the next tournament that should be on your radar is Iowa Games (also known as the Sauna Open)! It is a fairly small tournament with a relaxed, fun atmosphere. It’s held on Iowa State University’s campus in Ames on Saturday, July 19. Epee is at 12:00 and saber is at 3:00 pm. Entry fee is $20 before July 2 and goes up to $25 after that.

Visit the Iowa Games website for more info:

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Learn to Fence May 31

1606896_231723873684797_146949261_nRDF is pleased to announce our next Learn to Fence sessions:

Saturday, May 31
Kids (ages 7-12): 10 am-12 pm
Teens: 1-3 pm
Adults: 3-5 pm

Cost is $20 per person and all equipment is provided.

Students will learn basic epee and saber fencing actions, rules, and get to fence each other. Please wear athletic clothes, including pants and close-toed shoes. Class size is limited, so sign up today!

Learn to Fence Registration

If you have any questions, give us a call at 329-0329 or email us at

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April NAC Results

RJ and Vet Saber team

Minneapolis, MN – Several RDF fencers competed at the April North American Cup this weekend.

RJ Lesch fenced Veteran Men’s Saber, Vet-50 Men’s Saber, and Veteran Team Saber. RJ’s work to get in shape has paid off – 3 events in three days can be tough, but RJ said he’s feeling pretty good after all that.

This was Mike Timmons’ first NAC, and he fenced Veteran Men’s Epee on Friday. He won two pool bouts but lost his first direct elimination bout 7-10.

Sarah Timmons Powell fenced Division 2 Women’s Epee on an injured hamstring and finished 11th of 48. She lost to eventual gold medalist Maggie Snider from the Iowa City Fencing Center.

Division 1 national championships were held in conjunction with this NAC, so we also got to watch the top fencers in the country, including our Olympic athletes, compete.

Posted in Tournament Results, Uncategorized

Thanks for Learning to Fence with Us

We would like to thank everyone who came to our Learn to Fence sessions last weekend! We had 8 kids in our first session, where we learned footwork and basic epee and saber actions. We plan to hold more Learn to Fence sessions in May, so check back for updates!

Kids Learn to Fence

Our first ever kids Learn to Fence class!

Young fencers first bout

Sarah referees two of the youngest fencers.

Kevin referees the girls' first ever fencing bout.

Kevin referees the girls’ first ever fencing bout.

More pictures on our facebook page!

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Learn to Fence March 29 and 30

If you’ve ever wanted to try fencing, your chance is coming soon! RDF is pleased to announce our next Learn to Fence sessions:

Saturday, March 29
Kids (ages 7-12): 9 am-12 pm
Teens: 12-3 pm

Sunday, March 30
Adults: 1-4 pm

Cost is $25 per person and all equipment is provided.

Students will learn basic epee and saber fencing actions, rules, and get to fence each other. Please wear athletic clothes, including pants and close-toed shoes. Class size is limited, so sign up today! If you have any questions, give us a call at 329-0329 or email us at

Learn to Fence Registration

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Frosty Open Results

Ames, IA – Two RDF epeeists competed at Iowa State University Fencing Club’s Frosty Open tournament in Ames on Sunday. Jim Musgrave placed 2nd and Sarah Timmons Powell finished 8th of 28.

mixed epee medalists Frosty 2014

Mixed epee medalists at the Frosty Open in Ames: (from left) tied for 3rd, Joe Butler and Alex Bucevicius from Lincoln Fencing Club; 2nd place Jim Musgrave from Red Door Fencing; 1st place Colin McChesney from Twin Cities Fencing Club.

Posted in Tournament Results, Uncategorized

Courage League Kids Learn to Fence

Urbandale, IA – Several RDF fencers visited Courage League Sports – a really cool adaptive sports facility – for Family Fun Night. Tonight’s theme was Olympic sports. We brought a bunch of gear from the club, everyone suited up, we handed out weapons, and let the whacking commence! After a few minutes, the kids were hitting, disengaging, and parry-riposting like pros! We also made friends with Caylin, who used to fence in high school and jumped at the opportunity to wield her saber again when she heard about Olympic Family Fun Night. Special thanks to Coach RJ for working with Courage League to arrange our participation in this great event.

RJ and young fencer

Coach RJ demonstrates a block, or “parry” in fencerspeak. “Ok, now it’s your turn!”


RJ, Sarah, and Caylin and Courage League kids.

RJ, Sarah, and Caylin fence with their Courage League partners.

Fencing girls at Courage League

Don’t let these girls fool you – they may be little, but they know how to hit!


Father-daughter saber battle at Courage League

Coach RJ stands back as a father-daughter saber battle begins.

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


M-Th 5:00-9:30 pm
Saturday 8:00-11:00 am
Closed Friday & Sunday

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