O.P.S. Epee Club

After over a year break due to the Covid restrictions we are now up and running at our Peterborough venue on Monday evenings and at Oundle School Sports Centre on Thursdays.  This will be initially for existing fencers with new beginners sessions being offered at a later date once regulations have relaxed further and may take place outside these session times.

Due to social distancing guidelines we are holding off restarting our sessions at Stamford School as the space is more limited.

Existing club fencers will be contacted with session details and all sessions will need pre-booking (and payment) to comply with British Fencing tracking requirements.

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If you are new to the sport and interesting in learning once guidelines allow, please email chrishowser@hotmail.co.uk and we will send details once sessions are organised.

Club Background

In September 2011 the club was launched at Oundle School with sessions only taking place on Thursday evenings, however following some great successes in 2012 a second night on Monday evenings at The Peterborough School was added in September 2012.

In September 2017 a Stamford session is being started which will run at Stamford school. The club is continuing to flourish and details of our current sessions are detailed on the Individual session Tabs –

General Information

Who – The Club is generally aimed at those of 7/8 years of age (year 4 at schools, but some younger children do attend) and older (fencers attend into their 70s so no limit on upper age) with a full fencing session using Epees.

There can be some flexibility on ages, however please call/get in touch to discuss for younger children as  this younger age-group sometimes struggles with the weight of Epees.

Sessions – Stamford, Oundle & Peterborough

Sessions will consist of approximately 45 minute footwork & technique session run by a coach followed by free fencing on the scoring boxes.

Beginner Courses/Taster Days – We will be reviewing the restart of beginner sessions/courses once Covid rules make more practical to run.

Lead Coach – The lead coach will be Chris Howser, he is a level 4 Registered British Fencing coach with 20 years of coaching experience which has included coaching British Squad members at European Junior Championships and the England Ladies team to a Commonwealth Silver medal. He has also been coaching a large number of fencers in Surrey (where he recently moved up from) and that group have won numerous British and England titles between them. Chris was a high class international fencer in his own right, having fenced for Great Britain at 5 World Championships and having been Senior Men’s British Champion in 2005. He still competes and is currently both Northamptonshire County and East Midlands Regional Epee Champion as well as still being ranked as a top 20 GB fencer (Jan 2011). Other coaches will be found when the club grows to a point that more staff are required.

Costs of sessions
We will have differing payment options with discounts for those who wish to pay by standing order/in advance.  We will have a £12 per session guest fee for those attending on a one-off, occasional basis.

All sessions must be booked and paid for in advance,

What you would need to attend in

We will be able to supply the fencing equipment for all beginners and new intermediate fencers to the club (using size 0 or size 2 epees), these fencers would need to come to sessions wearing track-suit bottoms (zipped or closed pockets), t-shirt and trainers (with socks).  These sets will be your personal sets for the duration of any course/group of sessions.

Over a period of time we would hope that most regular fencers purchase their own equipment (at least some of it) so the club kit is available for new recruits (great Christmas and Birthday present ideas, see www.bladesbrand.com).

For older fencers (over 14 years old) wishing to fence with full size (size 5) epees, you must wear breeches and you will be able to borrow these (subject to availability) for a short period from the club, however you will be expected to purchase your own breeches very soon after starting regular attendance to the club. For those wishing to use size 5 epees you should attend wearing long socks and shorts under your track-suit bottoms to allow easy changing into breeches.

British Fencing Membership

All those fence at the fencing club are required to be members of British Fencing which gives you insurance cover as well as other benefits. Please see www.britishfencing.com for details in their membership section.  British Fencing offers an ‘Introduction to Fencing Membership’ which gives a 90 day ‘free’ membership for new starters in the sport.

Contacts and further information

Club founder – Chris Howser
Email – chrishowser@hotmail.co.uk
Tel – 07887 522714

Other points of contact

Child Protection/Welfare Officer & Club Administrator – Jacqui Lever (contact in policy document)

Child Protection/Safeguarding Policy 

Jacqui can talk you through how the club works and how to get involved in the sport.

Oundle Fencing Club

Following a year without the Fencing Club at Oundle School Sports Centre due to Covid restrictions, the club has restarted Club sessions at the new Sports Centre. 

Local fencers  should have received session details.  If you have not had details, please get in touch so we can get you booked in.

This will be initially for existing fencers with new beginners sessions being offered at a later date once regulations allow.

All sessions must be pre-booked, so we will not be accepting turn up on the day fencers.

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Thursday Evening Session

When – 7.00pm to 9.00pm

Where – Oundle School Sports Hall, Milton Rd, Oundle, PE8 4AG

This session will usually include a 45 minute coach led warm-up/footwork/bladework session followed by free fencing on the scoring boxes. Fencers can arrive and leave at any time within the session to match their schedule.

Cost –  Contact the club for reduced pre-pay options.

Visitor Fee – £13.00 

Level – All fencers attending this session, must have completed an ‘Introduction to Fencing Session’ at this venue or have fenced for 3 months or more (or OK’d by OPS Coach). If you are unsure whether you would be at the correct level or wish to attend an Intro session, please contact Chris – chrishowser@hotmail.co.uk

Further general club information here

Peterborough Fencing Club

Following a year without the Fencing Club at The Peterborough School Sports Centre due to Covid restrictions, the club has restarted Club sessions. 

Local fencers should have received session details.  If you have not had the details, please get in touch so we can get you booked in..

This will be initially for existing fencers with new beginners sessions being offered at a later date once regulations allow.

All sessions must be pre-booked, so we will not be accepting turn up on the day fencers.

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Monday Evening Session (excluding Bank Holiday Mondays) –

Time – 7.00pm to 9.00pm

Venue – Sports Centre, The Peterborough School, Thorpe Road, Peterborough, PE3 6AP.

This session will usually include a 45 minute warm-up/footwork/bladework session followed by free fencing on the scoring boxes. Fencers can arrive and leave at any time within the session to match their schedule.

Cost – Contact Club for Pre-pay options

Visitor Fee – £13.00

Level – All fencers attending this session, must have completed an ‘Introduction to Fencing Session’ at this venue or have fenced for 3 months or more (or OK’d by OPS Coach). If you are unsure whether you would be at the correct level or wish to attend an Intro session, please contact Chris – chrishowser@hotmail.co.uk

Further general club information here

Stamford Fencing Club

Club sessions have been cancelled following the British Government’s social distancing advice, due to coronavirus outbreak.  Fencers will be informed when the situation changes and club sessions can re-start.

*** Update May 2021***

Due to social distancing requirements and the smaller space at our Stamford venue, we are not looking to restart our Tuesday session for the time being.

This decision will be reviewed in due course.

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Tuesday Evening

Time – 7.00pm to 9.00pm

Venue – Sports Centre, Stamford Endowed School, Conduit Road, Stamford, PE9 1QQ.

No parking for fencers on Conduit Rd or sports centre car park, please park in school car park on other side of East street, cross pedestrian bridge and walk around playing fields to get to centre.

Fencers can generally arrive and leave at any time within the session to match their schedule, however new beginners in the first few sessions are asked to arrive promptly at 7pm.

This session will usually include approximately a 45 minute coach led warm-up/footwork/bladework session followed by free fencing on the scoring boxes. Fencers can arrive and leave at any time within the session to match their schedule.

Cost – TBC

Level – All fencers attending this session, must have completed an ‘Introduction to Fencing Session’ at this venue or have fenced for 3 months or more (or OK’d by OPS Coach). If you are unsure whether you would be at the correct level or wish to attend an Intro session, please contact Chris – chrishowser@hotmail.co.uk

Further general club information here

O.P.S. Epee Club at Home

O.P.S. Epee Club at home

With many weeks of no fencing we can all do things to ensure we are in our best condition and as highly skilled as possible for when the world returns to normal.

Technique Resources

Many of these bladework and footwork techniques will be able to be done indoors at home without the need for lots of space.  Good to keep practice going.

Fencing Technique Sheets – here

Great timing/hand-speed exercise – here (thanks to Keith Cook)

First Target Hitting video ‘Getting Started’ – here

Practice Hitting of Balls Progression – here

Exercise 1 – Direct hitting to target routine. Footwork and with Epeehere

Exercise 2 – Remise/redoubles to hanging football – here

Exercise 3 – Changing target height – Body, Leg, Foot – here

Exercise 4 – Parry-Reposte practice using target and tennis ball on string – here

Exercise 5 – Counter attack in opposition (engagement) using target and tennis ball on string – here

Exercise 6 – Attack in Opposition (engagement) using target and tennis ball on string – here

Exercise 7 – Beat actions using target and tennis ball on string – here

Exercise 8 – Low line parrying and engagements using Fan base and epee/pole – here

Footwork 1 – Improving Stepping and Lunging – here (10 minutes)

Footwork 2 – Improving your Step-Lunges – here (10 minutes)

Fitness Resources –

These fitness sessions can be done indoors at home without the need for lots of space.  Good to keep your fitness levels high.

Fitness target for all (well almost all) – Being able to do at least 10 proper press-ups – I will be adding some advice on progression for press-ups if you currently are unable to perform them.  If you can already do press-ups target to increase how many you can do without stopping and how many you can do in one minute.

Progress to doing your press-ups – here

Fencing Fitness Sheets – here

Mobility Routine – here (BBC)

Quick Core Session – here (BBC)

HIIT Routine – here  (BBC)

Great Balance Workout – here (BBC)

Mobility, Balance & Posture Circuit – here (thanks to Keith Cook)

Sister Club Redhill & Reigate Elite Fencer Fitness & Conditioning (by George Morris)

Elite Athlete 1 – Fencing Strength & Conditioning 1- link (Thanks to George @ Redhill & Reigate)

Elite Athlete 2 – Daily Trunk Conditioning 2 –  link (Thanks to George @ Redhill & Reigate) 

Making your own Hit-Pad/Target –

How to make a basic fencing target – here (facebook video)

How to make a full fencing target – here (facebook video)

Weekly Puzzle / Challenge –  Weekly prize for first Under 14 local fencer to email (on parents email to chrishowser@hotmail.co.uk) with the correct answers of a ‘Free O.P.S. evening club session (in first month of sessions re-starting).

Spot the Difference 1 (28-03-2020) – Winner – Jude Odysseas

Fencing Crossword (05-04-2020) – Winner – Max Carter

Fencing Word-search (14-04-2020) – Winner – Lauren Shaffer

Close up Fencing (20-04-2020) – Winner – Robin Silk

Spot the Difference 2 (27-04-2020) – Winner – Robin Silk

Word Maze (10-05-2020) – Find the route to spell engarde from start to finish without crossing any walls or going through any square more than once.

Page will be updated day by day with more resources.