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


Monday & Tuesday 6-9 pm
Thursday 5-9:30 pm
Friday 5-8 pm
Saturday 8:00-11:00 am
Closed Friday & Sunday

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