The goal of the Baton Rouge Fencing Club is to provide quality instruction to fencers at all levels of ability, and to promote the sport of fencing in the Baton Rouge area. The BRFC also hosts several tournaments over the course of the year and fencers from the club attend and compete in tournaments in Louisiana and elsewhere.
The Baton Rouge Fencing Club was founded in 1976 to coordinate between the various clubs in the Baton Rouge area. At the time there were three clubs that offered instruction in the city — The Louisiana State University Fencing Club, the Baton Rouge Magnet High Fencing Club and the Foster Y.M.C.A. Club. The Y club closed in 1977. The Magnet program ended in 1985. Begun sometime around the turn of the 20th century, the L.S.U. club was among the older fencing clubs in the United States. In 2001, the operation of the L.S.U. club ceased. Fencers from the area traveled to Dutch Town in Ascension Parish to practice and train at “Salle Garage,” Ben Price’s garage that had been built for the purpose in 2001. Although it was a great site for practices, its small size and inconvenient location made “Salle Garage” unsuitable for conducting beginners’ classes.
In January of 2004, Baton Rouge fencers moved to the Ketcham Fitness Center on Bluebonnet Blvd. There, classes and practices were conducted under the auspices of the revived Baton Rouge Fencing Club. Begun in January, the first beginners’ class was a successful venture. The club now sports some 50 members ranging from beginners to national competitors. The club held its practices at the Christ Covenant Church in Baton Rouge until the summer of 2012. At present we have some 40 regular members, making the BRFC the largest fencing club in the Louisiana Division of the USFA.
Over the last two years, the club has expanded its coaching staff and club officers, and offers more extensive classes and instruction, especially to beginners. A program has also opened at the A.C. Lewis Y.M.C.A. that is focused on instruction for younger fencers (up to age 11). Additionally, one of our members, Carlisle D'Souza coaches a fencing program at the Dunham School. In addition, our club president and Beginners' Coach, Ryan O'Connor teaches several classes for home schoolers. The Club has moved to a new venue, the Red Stick School of Fencing, for its summer practices. The Red Stick School of Fencing, run by Coach Ryan O'Connor is a great fencing venue. After its Grand Opening on August 11, classes and practices will be held there and the school will be open every day. The new fencing school provides an asset in that its programs will consolidate all of the area fencing into one venue. The new salle boasts eight strips (four electric at present), good air conditioning and excellent changing facilities.
We hope that the growth and current success of the club and the innovation of a new fencing school represents the beginning of a new era of growth and the continued success of fencing in the Baton Rouge area.