Come Fence With Us!

Red Door Fencing, located in Des Moines’ historic East Village, is an epee 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 offer beginner classes, lessons, and training for children, teens, and adults. Our fencers compete in local, regional, and national tournaments, and we host additional educational opportunities (referee seminars, coaching workshops, fencing/training camps, etc.) and tournaments.

We are an affiliate member of USA Fencing, the national governing body for the sport in the U.S., and a 501(c)(3) nonprofit.


Latest News:

Re-Opening!

As our spring members know through email, we have opened this week for private lessons only.

Our plan for June is to continue with both private lessons and online footwork sessions – we completely understand that many people do not feel comfortable doing in-person activities at this time. If you’d like to join online sessions and weren’t a member this spring, send us an email and we’ll get you the link! You can also follow along with prior workouts on our youtube channel.

For in-club activities, we are following the same procedures as the week before we closed – cleaning of high-touch surfaces, keeping doors open as much as possible (easier now with better weather!), no shared equipment, no handshakes, 10 minutes between lessons, etc.

We are not requiring (non-fencing) masks at this time, although you are welcome and encouraged to wear them! We’re a little worried about how practical mask-wearing will be for those actively fencing and coaching – being able to breathe and communicate is important, too! However, fencers may want to consider trying to fence with a mask under their fencing mask as we aren’t sure what will be required when competitions resume. The coaches are trying to figure out a mask/mask combo that will work for us, too!

We also now have a way to pay online! We’re offering our usual monthly membership and a punch card that is good through August.

To schedule lessons, check your email for the link to the scheduler (only June is available right now). If you weren’t a spring member, send us an email to request the link.

We are also figuring out how to work in beginner lessons – stay tuned!

Depending on how things are going in the coming weeks, the next step is to start doing small group classes as well.

We hope everyone is staying safe and healthy. We appreciate your patience and support as we muddle through this!

Five O’Clock Footwork – Fencing at Home!

We did our first 5 O’Clock Footwork session last night! Club members were invited to join our Meet, and 8 fencers followed along and received feedback. We also recorded what was going on at RDF, so those who missed the live session can still follow along with the video on their own time.

We’re going to do it again at 5:00 pm on Thursday, April 2. Members, check your email for a link to tomorrow’s Meet and yesterday’s video!

You’ll want to wear your fencing shoes, have some water to drink handy, and find some open space (we have about 13 ft. [4 m] to work with in our video) on preferably a wood floor or deck, laminate, even short carpet or concrete (although that can be a bit hard on the joints). Take a few minutes to stretch and warm up on your own before we start.

If you can, position your camera so we can see your whole body from the side, like what the referee would see. The better we can see you, the better feedback we can give.

Once everyone joins, we ask everyone to mute so we don’t accidentally record anyone else, but you can ask questions through the text chat function or we can pause the recording if needed. (We’re looking into a better way to manage this.) We’ll go for about 20 minutes.

Our goal is to ramp up to doing this several times a week and find ways to include more people.

Temporary Closure

Red Door Fencing is closed due to coronavirus (COVID-19) spread, consistent with guidance from USA Fencing and the Governor of Iowa, from this week. We hope to re-open again as soon as it is safe to do so.

We are working on some “fencing from home” options so our fencers can stay connected and engaged while we all do our part to help keep our communities healthy.

In the mean time, here are a few resources we’ve seen already:

Northwest Fencing Center (Portland, OR)
Follow on Instagram or Facebook for daily fencing & non-fencing athletic challenges

Academy of Fencing Masters (Bay Area, CA)
Blog with ideas for making a target & other ways to practice at home

COVID-19 Schedule Changes

Due to the spread of coronavirus/COVID-19, RDF is moving to private lessons only, effective immediately.

Club members, please check your emails for details and a link to the sign up platform.

In addition to doing extra cleaning and not sharing equipment, we are trying to minimize the number of people anyone comes in contact with by entering our club. We are a small club anyway, so we feel like this is a reasonable risk-management strategy. Hopefully obviously, if you or someone in your household might be sick or in a high-risk group, please stay home! If either of the coaches might be sick, we will close the club.

If you do not feel comfortable coming to the club, we completely understand and we will work directly with members to issue refunds or pause memberships, etc.

Equinox Epee tournament rescheduled

Due to spread of coronavirus/COVID-19 and related closures, RDF has tentatively rescheduled the Equinox Epee tournament (originally set for March 28-29) to September 19-20, 2020. Event times remain the same.

We hope things will be relatively back to normal by then, but we will post any changes here, on facebook, on askfred.net, and will email updates to everyone preregisterd through askfred. We have yet to confirm gym availability with WDMCS, as they are understandably very busy with other things right now, but usually the gym schedule is pretty light that time of year.

We appreciate everyone’s support and hope you will still be able to join us in the fall!

Iowa Caucus Tournament Results

Alrighty, folks, the swords have spoken and we’re predicting Pete Buttigieg will win the Iowa caucus on Feb. 3 (even though technically the fencer representing John Delaney won the tournament – Delaney dropped out of the race yesterday)! Tied for 3rd was Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar! Then we had Tom Steyer, Michael Bennet, Joe Biden, Deval Patrick, Andrew Yang, and Bernie Sanders.

Thank you to all the campaigns that donated items to decorate our wall and our fencers! Thanks to the fencers for coming out to represent a randomly-drawn candidate! We had a lot of fun fencing to predict a caucus winner and it was nice to briefly lighten the seriousness of political issues.

Remember to caucus on Monday, Feb. 3 and good luck to all of the actual candidates!

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Lots of Improvement at Coaching Clinic with Gary Copeland Last Weekend

Last weekend, RDF hosted a coaching clinic led by Gary Copeland of Northern Colorado Fencers. We had 8 coaches from RDF, the Des Moines Fencing Club, the Lincoln Fencing Club, and the Omaha Fencing Club brave the blizzard and single-digit temperatures to attend, as well as quite a few student volunteers who gamely took lesson after lesson during the two-and-a-half day workshop.

Thank you to everyone who participated. We saw lots of learning and improvement, which will translate to raising the level of the sport in the Midwest. As always, we’re grateful to Gary for sharing his feedback and expertise!