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.
Last weekend, six RDF fencers competed in the Cornhusker Games at Gateway Mall in Lincoln, NE. Since there was no fencing at Iowa Games this year, we could go compete in a different State Games.
Ben started us off strong on Friday, winning the Y12 epee event. In E & Under Epee on Saturday, Mat took the silver medal and Tasha won bronze. In Open Epee, Mat was 6th, Sarah was 9th, Jack finished 11th, and Tasha came in 12th on Sunday. Also on Sunday was Women’s Epee, where Sarah won the gold medal, Ava took silver, and Tasha finished 5th and won the Sportsmanship Award!
On Saturday, we held the Happy Squid Unrated Tournament at our club. “Unrated” means it was only open to fencers who have not yet earned a rating (also sometimes called classification) from competing in USA Fencing tournaments. (Full chart here.) Nine fencers competed and the winner (Ben from Center for Blade Arts in Minneapolis) earned his “E” classification. From RDF, Alex ended 2nd in a close 15-14 match, Ava and Jack tied for 3rd, Darren was 6th, and Campbell finished 7th.
Last Saturday was our fun little in-club youth tournament! In Y12 Mixed Epee, Ben won and Kalina was 2nd. In Y14 Mixed Epee, Ben was our champion, Chantal was 2nd, Sophia came in 3rd, and Alexis finished 4th. With such limited opportunities for competition this past year, it was good to practice being in a competitive situation and mindset again or, for some, the first time!
Last weekend, fencers from around the state and a few from neighboring states joined us for the Duel in Des Moines, which we jointly hosted with the Des Moines Fencing Club. They ran the foil and saber events in the gym at Fairmeadows Elementary and we ran the epee events outdoors in the parking lot. Full results are available here on askfred: https://askfred.net/Results/results.php?tournament_id=47752.
In Open Mixed Epee, Daniel was 2nd, Sarah tied for 3rd, Evan placed 5th, Nick finished 8th, and Ava was 10th.
In Cadet Mixed Epee, Ava earned the gold after a close 15-13 match with Jack, who took home silver. In his first ever tournament, Ben placed 6th, and Campbell – in his first tournament outside the club – finished 7th.
In Unrated Mixed Epee, Jack earned his 2nd silver medal of the weekend, Steve tied for 3rd, Campbell was 5th, Ava finished 6th, and Cindy was 7th.
Everyone fenced hard, learned some good things, and has a lot to be proud of. We especially liked seeing the growth of several of our fencers who used to get very discouraged by a tough loss in pools. This time, they were able to shake off those bouts and get back on track mentally – a really important skill in fencing!
Although traditionally summer tends to be sparse for tournaments (most people are training for summer nationals in July, and after that they take a break or scale back), we are planning on hosting some more small tournaments at the club this summer, and the new fencing season starts in August.
Coaches Kevin & Sarah are now fully vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19! We are not changing our mask requirements at this time, but we hope that sharing this piece of information will give people some peace of mind and encourage everyone to also get their vaccine as soon as they can.
We would like to be able to start phasing out Covid mask requirements over the summer (as we learned last summer, wearing those masks in our heat and humidity is not exactly super fun) and fall, assuming cases remain low, people are vaccinated, and the vaccines are effective against virus variants that occur. We will continue to practice with face masks in some situations as long as it is still a requirement for USA Fencing tournaments – no one wants to be distracted by their clothing during competition.
We’re also looking forward to fencing with the folks who have been waiting for vaccines in order to return! Thank you to everyone who is getting their vaccines for helping us practice more comfortably and protecting our community!
On Saturday, 3 RDF fencers competed in Y-14 Epee at the Jack-O-Lantern Tournament at the old Franklin Jr. High. Ben tied for 3rd, Jocelyn finished 5th, and Cruz finished 6th. It was the first tournament for both Jocelyn and Cruz!
We finally got to have our (now not accurately named) Equinox Epee tournament the second weekend of October! It was a little smaller than usual, with 30 individual fencers participating in 4 events, but everyone was grateful for a chance to compete even though the circumstances were less-than-ideal. The tournament was held outdoors in the parking lot at Hillside Elementary, and everyone did a great job wearing their masks, keeping their distance from others, and not shaking hands! Thank you to everyone who helped make this event possible!
In Open Mixed Epee, Evan tied for 3rd, Nick was 7th, Alex was 9th, with Daniel right behind in 10th. In Women’s Epee, Sarah tied for 3rd. In Div 3 (D & Under) Mixed Epee, Evan took home the silver medal, Daniel tied for 3rd, Alex came in 7th, Nick took 10th, Weston was 11th, and Rilee was 16th. In Cadet Mixed Epee, Jack tied for 3rd and Weston was 5th. We think everyone’s hard work in lessons and practice over the last 6 months showed!
Also congratulations to RDF fencers Evan on earning his C, Daniel on earning his E, and Nick on renewing his E!
Based on feedback from people who signed up for the tournament, it’s important that we are able to open it to fencers from outside the Iowa Division and that people have the opportunity to earn/renew their classification (rating). Rescheduling for October is our best chance at doing this, due to USA Fencing’s policy of division-locking of sanctioned events continuing through September.
We’ve submitted a request to DMPS to rent a parking garage. We went and looked, and two levels have sufficiently high ceilings and the concrete is in satisfactory condition. We think this is the best way to get good airflow but also minimize the chance of weather-related cancellation. We have also talked to our referees and while some will not be able to participate, there is enough interest in refereeing that we think we’ll be okay there.
On the plus side, this gives everyone more time to practice!
We’ve understandably been getting a lot of questions about our Equinox Epee tournament, originally scheduled to take place in March, which we tentatively rescheduled for Sept. 19-20 due to the novel coronavirus. We hope to have a more useful update toward the end of the week, but here is kind of what we’re thinking so far…
We highly doubt we will be able to hold the tournament with the planned schedule and location, and we have cancelled Y10 and Y12. We do know that some groups have been fairly successfully conducting livestock shows outdoors, and WDMCSD has instituted a hard ban on any sort of tape on their new gym floors, so we will likely be in an outdoor location.
However, this would incur some unfamiliar expenses, so we are also calculating various factors’ impact on attendance and financial viability. Our ability to hire enough referees will also impact what we’re able to offer. We really want to be able to do something, but we don’t want to be a source of disease spread, so we plan to comply with many of the guidelines in USA Fencing’s Return to Local Events document – fencers should be prepared to wear a cloth or disposable/surgical under their fencing mask. If you’re one of the people who has not already been practicing this way, we recommend that you start experimenting with different types of masks so you can find something that works for you (and can acquire several because they will get sweaty) before the tournament.
Additionally, the Iowa Division Board is making sanctioning decisions on a case-by-case basis this year after reviewing organizers’ plans. Since we haven’t nailed down the venue, we’ve been unable to submit a plan. We are considering running the tournament without sanctioning if we are unable to secure approval.
For those considering attending, here is some state and local information about the COVID-19 situation to help you in your decision-making:
We’ve added an hour long small group class to Thursday nights! This will be one consistent group and (non-fencing) masks are required.
We are continuing private lessons (email us for the link to the sign up), as well as online footwork on Tuesdays and Thursdays. We also welcome beginners to sign up for private lessons – contact us for more info.
Ideally, we’ll be able to continue adding back group sessions to get back to our pre-pandemic schedule and phase out online footwork. However, this will depend on interest (and the ages & experience of those interested) and local conditions surrounding Covid-19.