As many great stories, the story of the KCL Fencing Club has been passed down by generations of fencers. It has so far been an oral tradition, a tale of a club as old as time (or as old as GKT, which according to some unbiased Guy’s campus students is the same thing). Beyond an account of results and numbers and facts, this page gathers some of these stories as told by former committee members, to prevent them from falling into oblivion, so that future generations of freshers may hear wonderous tales of hard-fought victories and honourable losses against UCL, of Parisian adventures, of entire days of uninterrupted fencing for a good cause, of the exploits of the mighty Lords of Chunder, and always remember that fencing is as much about swordsmanship as it is about friendship.
If you have any information about preceding years or if you know more about any of these years, please contact us.
Committee: Guy Ripley (President)
Committee: Sunmeet Kandhari (President), Juliette Le Caillec (VP), Martin Batěk (Treasurer), Aniis Rymansaib & Mark Ong (Armourers), Josephine Morris (Women’s 1st Captain), Emily Hall (Women’s 2nd Captain), Tim Clifton Wright (Men’s 1st Captain), Adam Locke (Men’s 2nd Captain)
Awards: KCLSU Club of the Year
Committee: Emily Hall (President), Eleonora Colli (VP), David Wilson (Treasurer & Armourer), Thibault Magrangeas (Secretary), Hannie Lui (Women’s 1st Captain), Nicola Martino, then Louis Garbutt (Men’s 1st Captains), Mathilde Chastanet (Women’s 2nd Captain), Radek Tereskowski Kaminsky (Men’s 2nd Captain), Dragos Frunza (Social Secretary)
Awards: British Fencing University Club of the Year
Committee: Thibault Magrangeas (President), Mathilde Salleyron (VP), David Wilson (Treasurer & Armourer), Cesare Barba (Secretary), Daisy Hutton (Women’s 1st Captain), Louis Garbutt (Men’s 1st Captain), Laura Samet (Women’s 2nd Captain), Carl Hentges (Men’s 2nd Captain), Shreya Anil & Mathilde Chastanet (Social Secretaries)
Awards: KCLSU Club of the Year
Achievements: Men’s 1st won their league and Varsity.
Committee: Laura Samet (President), Alex Deslandes (VP & Men’s 2nd Captain), Mathilde Salleyron (Treasurer), Alessia Bardanzellu (Club Secretary), Daisy Hutton (Women’s 1st Captain), Daniele Zorzato (Men’s 1st Captain), Zara Lim (Women’s 2nd Captain), Henry Seagroatt & Dušan Pilka (Armourers), Cesare Barba & Clémentine Constans (Social Secretaries), Yannic Torben Obermeyer (Kit Secretary)
Awards: KCLSU Changemaker Award
Achievements: Women’s 1st and Men’s 2nd won their leagues undefeated, Men’s 1st won Varsity, medals in 5 events at X-Systra. Raised over £500 for the Activity Alliance and the club at the Fenceathon, acquired wheelchair fencing equipment.
Committee: Alex Deslandes (President), Pierre-Olivier Pitt (VP), Angus Thompson (Treasurer), Kenneth Kwong (Club & Kit Secretary), Roxane Alizad (Women’s 1st Captain), Ru Florence (Men’s 1st Captain), Ines Froidefond (Women’s 2nd Captain), Carl Hentges (Men’s 2nd Captain), Alexandra Zalokosta & Thibault Magranges (Social Secretaries), Guillaume Goodey (Armourer)
“The Original Trilogy” by Adam Locke (2014-2017)
“Chronicles of the Club’s Initial Frenchman” by Thibault Magrangeas (2016-2020)
Year 1: The Fresher (2016-2017)
This year was glorious for the club. Run by a group of veterans under the lead of Sunmeet Kandhari, winner of the “dental student of the year” award for his involvement in the dental school and securing the KCLSU Club of the year award, the club was at its pinnacle – membership had roughly doubled and weekly socials at Waterfront (may it forever be in our memories) ensured a family-like environment where all were welcome. All would agree that this was a good year: it was our first year of charity fundraising, running up the 30-odd floors of Guy’s Tower to raise £300 for disability sports; receiving coaching from team GB coach Jon Salfield; Winning women’s Varsity against UCL; sending a lively team to X-Systra, where the adventures of yours truly have become the stuff of legends. Looking back, this was the best time to join the club, and still today that year’s committee provide the standard we strive to achieve. Apart from men’s firsts. Following an age-old tradition, that year’s captain chose to resign the day before a cup match, and to save the club from a £300 fine the heroic men’s seconds captain gallantly sacrificed himself in his stead.
Year 2: The Secretary (2017-2018)
As a fresh member of committee, I started the year excited and full of hopes. This would also be how it ended, but not without a few sleepless nights carrying kit between campuses, learning to become a conflict mediator and growing a questionable goatee. All of those on the team were new to committee apart from our President Emily Hall, the last remaining student of the otherwise retired previous and rapidly ageing committee. Before the start of the year, both the club VP and Treasurer had to step down for personal reasons; bravely putting themselves forward, David Wilson, one of our Social Secretaries, and Eleonora Colli, our Fundraising Secretary, agreed to replace them. This was only the start of our troubles. Tensions with other committer members and difficulties with his team resulted in the club’s first forcible removal of a committee official in the person of the Men’s Firsts captain. Soon afterwards, Emily had to take a step back for personal reasons. Overworked, most of the committee was absent from training sessions, and joint training with LSBU resulted in David, Eleonora and I running back and forth between campuses with boxes tied to our backs not unlike mules in the Andes. Notwithstanding, this remained a successful year: We organised our first yearly 24-hour Fenceathon (with only one member temporarily arrested on his way home for carrying a bladed weapon across a bridge at 3am, 2 members arriving drunk at night and therefore unable to fence and yours truly remaining present and mostly awake for the full duration of the event), sent to X-Sister the biggest team in its history, strong of 24 fencers with flashing blades and stout livers and were crowned with the British Fencing University Club of the Year 2018 award.
Year 3: The President (2018-2019)
Glory glory, Hallelujah! With the hefty weight of the club on my shoulders following a difficult campaign against no competition, with faithful sidekick in shorts David Wilson remaining as my treasurer, I took on the challenge to reform the club. After the previous year, between high pressure and increased memberships, all agreed changes had to be made. Although I admit that I may lack impartiality (preposterous claims), I take great pride in that year: we set up a joint training deal with Haverstock Fencing Club, enabling our experienced members to access better facilities weekly and recruited retired club member and professional fencer Brynmor Saunders as our coach. Thanks to a female-heavy committee, the gender imbalance in the club was somewhat improved although with the disappearance of some of our admin team as the year progressed our Women’s Seconds progressively mutated into a trio of multitasking ninjas. Several of our members received medals at X-Systra where we sent a bigger team once again, our Fenceathon continued to prosper and we received the KCLSU Club of the Year award once more. This is not to say that the club did not encounter issues: several committee members disappeared halfway through the year; our coach presented a slight bias towards sabre, his weapon of choice, leading to understandable grumpiness from foilists and épéistes; due to a bad kebab, our men’s firsts missed promotion by 2 points in their final match. Men’s seconds, however, were doing better than ever after securing new team members, which still wouldn’t stop me from making up better results for the team. It was time to retire.
Year 4: The Benevolent Godfather (2019-2020)
I was retired and although I took part in matches, little is remembered of that year: Laura Samet and sidekick Alex Deslandes didn’t burn down the club, instead increasing female and beginner participation greatly, filling the ranks of the Women’s and Men’s Seconds with great talent, and with both Women’s Firsts and Men’s Seconds winning their leagues and getting promoted. Equipment for wheelchair fencing was secured, making the club open to members of all abilities. Once more, an even greater team was sent to X-Systra. The fenceathon continued to draw masses. The social secretaries disappeared. Coaching improved. Haverstock remained. Laura redefined the terms “efficiency”, “ruthlessness” and “charm”, perhaps not in that exact order. Once more, awards were received. Retirement felt golden, but it was time to return.
Year 5: The Social Sec strikes back (2020-2021)
To be continued?