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AFM Newsletter #100 - January 2022

Welcome to 2022 and our 100th AFM newsletter!!

Sometimes it is the little milestones that make us feel the depth of the years. It’s hard to believe that we are entering the 9th year at AFM, but we can say with confidence that we are stronger now than we have ever been. 

What a transition back into in-person fencing and what a journey to life that can’t quite seem to get back to normal! Yet here we are, finding a new kind of normal and continuing to move forward. The challenges of last year are all behind us and we have such great hope for the year ahead despite the upcoming challenges. Through all of it, we found strength in fencing and hope in the meaningful connections that we made with one another. It’s so good to see the continued growth of our fencers, and it is through them that we are able to see the bright days ahead. The current days are pretty bright too!

2021 was full of transitions for AFM, and we are so incredibly grateful for everyone that has ridden the wave with us this last year. We are still riding it as we go into the new year, and we continue to surf this sea together. In this new year, we are anxiously excited for continued forward motion and new opportunities. 

Rising COVID cases and the new Omicron variant are challenging us all to make difficult choices once again. The great news is that it looks like vaccines provide solid protection against severe illness for this variant. We encourage everyone to get vaccinated and boosted in line with your doctor’s recommendations. It’s important to us that everyone stays healthy! Keep in mind that the vaccine mandate for USA Fencing competitions is now in effect. Don’t miss the details of that below - it’s essential information for competitive fencers. 

We continue to take precautions at AFM that are in line with the CDC recommendations, and we thank you all for your support of those precautions. Handwashing, masking, and effective social distancing practices continue to be critical parts of our fencing training. Coaches, staff, fencers, and families must all mask at all times when at AFM. The AFM Safe Shield practices continue to be in place, and social distancing continues to be our policy. This is simply the new normal. Lucky for us, fencing is conducive to pandemic safety. 

With all of that in mind, we know the burden that this all places on our fencing families.  We’re here for you, particularly as school goes back into session after the break and we collectively navigate the next few weeks. Let us know if you have symptoms and please stay home until you can get tested! Most of all, we want you to feel better if you’re unwell. The focus is always on the health and wellbeing of our fencing family. 

Beyond the pandemic, there’s a whole lot to get excited about! This spring is set to be a busy time of competition and training, and we are looking forward to the second half of the fencing season. The January NAC is held right in San Jose this weekend, and the Junior Olympics are coming up fast in February in Salt Lake City. Regional competitions are continuing as well, and we hope to see lots of fencers competing locally during the next few months.

We wish everyone a happy new year! We extend our deepest gratitude for being there with us through this last year, and we look forward to the next year with bright hope and a willingness to keep on going.

                                                  Sincerely yours, 
                                                                                  Irina and the Team

AFM Covid/Omicron Main Safety Policies   
Updated on January 2022

As the health of our families is our utmost priority, we follow the strict safety protocols for in-person classes and are in compliance with the current order from the health authorities. We determined that we could do it in a way that would not compromise the health of our fencers, their families, or our staff. Due to the surge of Covid and Omicron cases in California, AFM will continue to work strictly according to the clear guidance of Santa Clara County, governmental restrictions and guidance, and Santa Clara County schools’ guidance. AFM continues to keep as our highest priority the well-being of the fencers, their families, and our coaching team. 
Here below are our main guidelines, measurements, and return-to-training policies that help us to keep everyone safe.

  • Please do not have your student so to the club if they have a positive test, have been in contact with anyone who tested positive for COVID-19 in the last few days, or has any COVID-19 symptoms.
  • If fencers or their family members are tested positive, wait 10 days from the date of the positive COVID test or the start of symptoms (whichever comes first) before returning to the club. Isolation can end on day 5 or later if symptoms are not present AND by having a negative COVID test from day 5 or later.
  • If fencers or their family members have Covid symptoms, isolate and get tested for COVID. May return after submitting a negative COVID test, significant improvement of symptoms, and 24 hours fever free without any medication. 
  • AFM coaching and administration staff, fencers, and parents MUST wear face masks or cover all the time. Fencers must keep face masks on during fencing bouts.
  • EVERYONE should sanitize their hands prior to entering the club, and after leaving the club. No exceptions.
  • No food is allowed inside the fencing facility. Reducing the risk of touching the mouth and face while being outside of your home is of utmost importance.
  • The temperature will be checked for coaches and students before the entrance. 
  • Water fountains are turned off. Every fencer must bring his/her own bottle with CLEAR name on it. The bottles must be disposed of or taken back after each class. Unclaimed bottles left after the class will be thrown away and not kept in the facilities.
  • Fencers should not leave their equipment in the club. Equipment should be taken home and washed after every single use.
  • Personal equipment includes (gloves, jackets, pants, socks, t-shirts, shorts) should be cleaned after each training. Equipment such as masks should be disinfected after every single use.
  • Fencers must change to the fencing shoes prior to the entry to the club from the parking. The street shoes should be kept near the fencing bag. Fencers who did not change their street shoes to fencing shoes will not be allowed to enter the building
  • No parents are allowed to wait inside buildings. Exceptions are made for toilet usage only.
  • We keep good ventilation and open doors as much as possible with outside temperatures.
  • The cleaning custodians are on-site for daily deep cleaning.

Thank you for doing your part in keeping our community safe and making in-person training a reality.


Competitions Results in December 

Congratulations to all AFM fencers who showed great results in December and closed 2021 with a good feeling of accomplishment and excitement! We have many more competitions to come soon - don't miss the important deadlines and sign up! Great job everyone! Way to go!

CenCal Junior Olympics Qualifiers 2021  was such a successful event for AFM fencers! Congrats to all fencers who won medals and qualified for JOs! Way to go!

Cadet Women's Epee - Congratulations to Meghana Simhadri for winning a Silver medal and qualifying for JOs! Way to go!

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Junior Men's Epee. Congratulations to David Zaydman for winning the tournament and earning D rating! Way to go! Nathan Zhang won a Silver medal and earned E rating! Fantastic! Kevin Wong won Bronze and earned E rating! Great job, boys! Congratulations on your new rating and JOs qualifications! Way to go!
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Junior Women's Epee - Congratulations to Diana Martynove for winning a Gold Medal, she also earned E rating, and qualified for JOs, Zara Sinha won Silver and also qualified, Desiree Poon won Bronze and qualified, and Meghana Simhadri finished 4rth, and was one small step from qualifying! Great job, girls! Congratulations to you, your parents, and your coaches!

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Texas at the Austin Challenge SYC

Congratulations to Jessica Xu for winning Youth 10 Women's Epee tournament in Texas at the Austin Challenge SYC! Great job, Jessica! Way to go! Congratulations to your parents and proud coaches!
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AFM Epee Open Cup #1, 2021-2022 

We had such a great tournament on December 19th. More than 125 beginners and intermediate level AFM fencers and a few guests came to train, compete and celebrate the pre-holidays spirit with fencing friends! Thank you so much for coming, we were happy to host AFM Epee Cup (Y8, Y10, Y12, Y14) on our Sunnyvale campus. Dear parents, please save all these precious photos you made during the tournament for the future champions' big interviews:) Way to go! We will have at least two more AFM tournaments until the end of the season 2021-2022! Not to be missed! See in this issue two links for the signup! 

Youth 14 Women's Epee. Congratulations to all winners and all girls who fenced in this event - it was a fantastic tournament! Congratulations to Genevie Kwon for winning the GOLD medal! Way to go! Great job, Ashley James - congrats for winning a Silver medal! Amanda Lai and Noe Matthew won Bronze Medals! Congratulations!
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Youth 14 Men's Epee. Congratulations to our guest from Las Positas Fencing Center Biwon NG for winning this event! Our warm congratulations go to Ethan Li and his family for winning a Silver Medal! Andrew Chang and Oliver Su won Bronze Medals! Way to go, boys!! We are happy for you and very proud!

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Youth 12 Men's Epee.
Congratulations to Samyak Jain for winning the tournament! Way to go! Thomas Claes won Silver - congratulations! Joseph Louie and Vansen Wong won bronze Medals! Congratulations to the winners, their families and coaches!
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Youth 12 Women's Epee
Congratulations to the top 4 winners! Morgan Hankins had a very long and productive day on Sunday, she fenced in two events and won two medals! Congratulations, Morgan for winning Y12WE in this tournament! Way to go! Genevie Kwon won Silver! Serena Xu won the Bronze(Serena is not in the photo as she left earlier for the school test)! Nora Buca, our friend from TFC also won Bronze! Congratulations, girls! Way to go! Congratulations to your families and coaches!
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Youth 10 Women's Epee
Congratulations to all winners! Carolyn Sun won the tournament! Morgan Hankins won the Silver medal! Emma Zhao won a Bronze medal! Isabell Ma, our guest from Cardinal Fencing Club also won Bronze! Great job, girls! Congratulations to you, your parents, and your proud coaches! Way to go!
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Youth 10 Men's Epee
Congratulations to the winners! Leo Quan won the tournament and was very happy to take home a shining gold medal that was designed by AFM to our special tournaments! Way to go Leo! Aaron Jao won Silver medals! Kaden James and Anton Roman won Bronze medals! Congratulations to all families and coaches! Way to go!!
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Youth 8 Mixed Epee winners -
Congratulations to the winners of this tournament, for all top 8 finishers and every fencer for your great attitude and fencing! Congratulations to Max Ding for winning the Y8XE event! Max took home a gold medal, a special prize, and also a Special Winner Apple Cider bottle! 🙂 Pearl Mansuy won the Silver medal and showed fantastic progress and great fencing! Congratulations! Sasha Borovikov and Kaylin Kwon won Bronze medals and fenced great! Way to go! Congratulations to all families! Shannon Fu from LAFC won 5th place medal, Nicole Wang 6th, Roma Novoselov 7th, and Gabriel Balucan 8th place! Congratulations !!

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Bay Cup series

Congratulations to Jere Bothelio for winning Bronze medal and to all our veterans for giving a good fight in preparation to the NAC! And kudos to Bobby Liu for such a beautiful painting 🙂
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Junior Women’s Epee - a complete AFM podium sweep! Congratulations to Priscilla Leang for winning Gold, Lefu Chen for Silver, Alice Lan and Naomi Pacheco for Bronze and Zandra Feland for 5th place medal! Also a notable performance by Veronika Zherebchevska with 10th place, Hailey Haberman with 11th place, Noya Chirashnya with 12th place and Keira Daley with 15th place in the field of 47 fencers. Great job, girls, congratulations to you, your parents and coaches!
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Cadet  Men's Epee
We had such great completion of the cadet event in the TFC RJCC with 5 AFM Epee fencers in top 8! Congratulations to the fencers, their parents and coaches! Results: Ben Kim - Gold, Alec Zhang - Bronze, Adam Chirashnya - 6th place, Sarthak Jain - 7th place, Allan Chu - 8th place and C, Daniel Chirashnya - 10th place and D, Anish Sarkar - 12th place and Travis Knudsen - 15th place among the field of 60 fencers!

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Cadet Women’s Epee

Great performance of AFM girls in Cadet Women’s Epee event in the TFC RJCC! Left Chen won the event, Noya Chirashnya won Bronze, Veronika Zherebchevska medalled with 5th place, Keira Daley medalled with 6th place and earned her E rating and Charlotte Ali medalled with 7th place. Also good performance by Donya Derakshandeh with top 16 finish in the field of 50 fencers. Way to go, girls!
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Junior Men's Epee 
Congratulations to Ben Kim for Bronze and Yasha Shur for 8th place medal in the Junior event in the TFC RJCC! Also, good Fencing by Max Pali who earned D rating today with 10th place finish among the field of 68, Neil Weaver with 11th place and Allan Chu finished 15th!
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January NAC in San Jose 


This weekend, January 7-9, the January NAC is being held right in San Jose! 

We wish all of our fencers the best of luck during this competition. 

Actually, today AFM veterans made a triumphal opening of the "our home NAC", right here in San Jose! We had a fantastic start of the January NAC with 2 Gold and 1 Bronze medal! Congratulations to Heidi Chang for winning Gold and Haejung Hoffman for winning Bronze in Vet 40 Women’s Epee today and congratulations to Suzanne Bloomer for Gold in Vet60 and of course to our adult coaches Mark Wheeler and Jere Bothelio! What a great start of the year! Way to go!

For fencers who have not yet seen a competition of this level in person, we highly encourage you to come out and observe to get a feel for what national fencing looks like. It’s a fantastic opportunity to learn what this is all about. Not only that, but you can cheer on your AFM teammates!


San Jose McEnery Convention Center

150 W San Carlos St 

San Jose, CA 95113


Schedule of Epee Events:

  • January 7 -  Veteran Age Women’s Epee, Parafencing Men’s Epee, Parafencing Women’s Epee

  • January 8 - Division I Women’s Epee, Junior Men’s Epee, 

  • January 9 - Junior Women’s Epee, Veteran Age Men’s Epee

Keep in mind that this competition follows the new USA Fencing vaccination guidelines, which you can read about above. If you are going to compete or to observe, you must be vaccinated or have proof of a negative PCR test along with an approved exemption for competitors. Masking is also required for all participants and observers. 

It’s a truly worthwhile way to spend a weekend! Even if you just go to see an event or two. AFM fencers who are participating would love to have your cheers!

Again, best of luck to all of our fencers! 

AFM Epee Youth Cup   

Two more events are already scheduled! 

You don’t have to go far for great fencing competitions! AFM has two more tournaments in the AFM Epee Youth Cup. 

Current AFM Fencers at the Beginner and Intermediate levels are highly encouraged to sign up and participate in these events. These competitions are a wonderful way to improve your training and to extend your fencing repertoire. 

If you have not yet had your first fencing competition experience, this is definitely the place for you to start. If you’re a fencer who’s only had a little bit of experience in competition, this is also a great chance for you to spread those competitive wings and get more comfortable!

The second and third competitions in this series are coming up in March and in June. Competitors will have their rankings from their combined performances across all three competitions added together, and the top fencers in each category across all of the AFM Epee Youth Cup competitions will receive a special prize! 

It’s a great chance for fencers to experience this kind of overarching competitive structure. 


AFM Youth Epee Cup #2


AFM Youth Epee Cup #3

AFM Open Junior Tournament 

This summer, AFM will host the AFM Open Junior Tournament!

All junior level epee fencers will be eligible to compete, regardless of which club they are affiliated with. Epee fencers will have the chance to keep their skills sharp and experience competition in the last few weeks before the end of the season. And this is an official USA Fencing Sanctioned tournament, which means ratings will be awarded!

May and June tend to be slow months with very few fencing competitions as fencers across the country start to prepare for Fencing Summer Nationals. This tournament is designed to take place during that slow time, giving fencers a chance to keep their competitive skills honed ahead of the big competition. It’s also great for fencers who don’t qualify for Summer Nationals to keep competing, and for those who attend the Summer Nationals to have an additional competitive training!

Where: AFM Sunnyvale

When: June 12, 2022

The link to this tournament is here:


Summer Nationals Preparation Camp 


The biggest competitions call for the most preparation. Fencers who qualify for Fencing Summer Nationals naturally want to make a great showing once they get there! Competitive fencers also want to get the most out of their training and leverage all of their tools to succeed. 

Confidence and great training go hand in hand. 

These are intense training experiences that offer a fully immersive experience. AFM fencers train with our top coaches, as well as with special guests who bring a distinct and valuable perspective to our competitive fencers. This is by far the best way for fencers to level up as they move towards the next level of competition. 


Summer Nationals prep camp for Y14/Cadet/Junior
Week 1: June 13 - 17, 2022. 9 am - 12 pm.  AFM Sunnyvale
Week 2: June 20 - 24, 2022. 9 am - 12 pm.  AFM Sunnyvale

Summer Nationals prep camp for Youth (Y10 and Y12)
Week 1: June 20 - 24, 2022.       1 pm - 4 pm.  AFM Sunnyvale
Week 1: June 27 - July 1, 2022.  9 am- 12 pm.  AFM Sunnyvale

The sign-up will be open on askFred in about one week. 
Be sure to keep a watch on your inbox so that you get your place!



Summer Camps for Current Beginner and Intermediate level fencers  


We are happy to offer two weeks of camps for our current Beginner and Intermediate level fencers! Fencing summer camp is for everyone! All of our existing fencers, whether they’re going to Fencing Summer Nationals or not, can benefit from summer camp.
Camp helps to hone fencing skills, build camaraderie, and to get fencers excited about their training. Our coaches always make camp special, and the amount of growth that we see in fencers who attend camp is a testament to how well this mode of intense training works!

Save the dates, sign up will be available on askFred in about one week! 


1. End of the Season Summer Camp 

Open for all current Beginner and Intermediate level fencers 
June 13, 2022 - June 17. 2022 
1 pm  - 4 pm 

Sunnyvale location 
All regular classes are conducted as scheduled 

2. Back to Season Summer Camp 
Open for all current Beginner and Intermediate level fencers 
August 1, 2022 - August 5, 2022 
9 am - 12 pm

Sunnyvale location 
All regular classes are conducted as scheduled 


Plan your summer ahead of time, and don't forget to include fencing camps into your favorite activities over summer 2022!  The registration will be available soon! 





Beginner Summer Camps for New Fencers 

AFM’s fencing summer camps create a firm foundation for the newest fencers, and they’re perfect for siblings and friends! These are active, mentally stimulating experiences that allow fencers who are new to the sport to see what it’s all about. These fencing camps are engaging and exciting, taught by our highly experienced coaching staff. Many of our most accomplished fencers came into the sport this way!

We ask that you spread the word about these to friends and classmates! The more fencing grows, the more fun it is. You never know who might have an undiscovered passion for fencing. 

Beginner fencing camps are for new fencers ages 7-13 and include all equipment. All that the camper has to come with are long pants, a couple of T-shirts, tennis shoes, a light jacket, water, and a face mask. We provide equipment and they get to engage in the fun!

Upon graduation from this summer camp, these new fencers are eligible for our beginner fencing class. It’s a perfect opportunity to get started in fencing. 

Location: Sunnyvale and Campbell

The week of June 13-17, 2022
The week of June 20-24, 2022
The week of June 27 - July 1, 2022 
The week of July 18 -22, 2022
The week of July 25 - 29, 2022
The week of August 1 - 5, 2022 
The week of  August 8 -12, 2022 

Sign-up will be open on the AFM website in a few days! 


Go Deeper into Fencing on our Blog! 


If you’re looking for deeper insight into fencing, or if you need some guidance about almost any subject imaginable, be sure to check out the AFM blog! 

You’ll find tons of information about everything from how to clean a uniform to how to qualify for Fencing Summer Nationals. We’ve got interviews with top athletes and coaches, as well as infographics to help you understand every aspect of fencing. Looking for motivation or how to improve your fencing technique? There are tons of tips to help enrich your fencing. 

Here are five blogs to get you started:

There’s new content related to fencing and fencing parenting every week. You can also follow us on social media - both Facebook and Instagram - to keep up with the latest goings on at AFM. 

If you’re looking for something in particular, be sure to search for it in the bar on the right hand side of the screen. If you still can’t find what you need, drop us an email with your question and we’ll write about it!


Copyright © *|January 2022|* *|Academy of Fencing Masters|*, All rights reserved.

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