The Monterey Peninsula Fencers' Club was founded in 1971 by Milton Bank, a former Navy pilot and at the time, a Naval Postgraduate School professor in Monterey. He taught hundreds of people to fence at Monterey Peninsula College and at the YMCA, and was loved and revered by all who knew him. We strive to carry on the tradition he began.

I, Randy Schuyler, am the head coach. I'm a moniteur of arms and prévôt of sabre and épée. All are professional certifications from the U.S. Fencing Coaches Association and the Académie d'Armes Internationale. I also hold a professional membership in the U.S. Fencing Association. We fence all weapons and teach all weapons.

For 45 years, we met at the YMCA, under an unusual agreement begun by Milt. That ended in January 2017. Now we meet at the Monterey Youth Center in Dennis the Menace Park at El Estero in Monterey and both club and beginning fencing classes are Monterey Recreation Department programs. The club meets Saturdays, 9-11 a.m. Classes may be offered during the year in the adjacent Dance Studio. The next class will be beginning sabre and start on Jan. 7. Sign up for that on the Monterey Rec website.

Anybody can sign up for a class, but you have to get my permission to join the club. People who have never fenced should take the class first. If you have some experience in foil, sabre or épée, contact me so we can talk about it. We teach all three in the club, so someone who starts in one weapon will get exposure to the others sometime during the year. During open fencing at the end of the club session, fencers can fence the weapon they prefer.

Despite its swashbuckling image, fencing is one of the safest and most low-impact sports around. People very rarely die fencing, and the only real danger is eye injuries from waving swords around without protective equipment. For that reason, safety is strenuously taught and observed.

People routinely fence their entire lives, and have been known to bout up into their seventies. For more information, call me at 831 884 0725 or write to mail@swordplaymonterey.com.

What's Goin' On

Dec. 7: Today we finished up teaching binds, covering the 8-4 and 7-6 binds for both right- and left-handers.