Fencing is not just for swashbucklers who want to pillage and plunder. And it’s not only for those wannabe Zorros on Halloween weekend.

Here at UCSB, fencing is an intercollegiate club sport where participants compete on a regular basis amongst some of the top teams in California.

The UCSB fencing team consists of players with different levels of experience, as well as novice athletes who do not even know the difference between the foil, epee and sabre. These are three different types of swords. The foil and epee are point swords, while the sabre is acutting sword.

“Each different weapon has three different people competing,” junior co-president James Plaxton said. “Because of our small numbers, we are usually only able to field a men’s foil, men’s epee and a women’s foil team.”

After a number of years without a women’s team, there is a lot of excitement brewing around the new women’s group. The addition of part-time coach Mike Tiffany has also added a new dimension to the team.

“We are now able to field a quality women’s team,” graduate student Tom Pingel said. “We are now able to train them, and they have been pretty competitive for only having a few months experience.”

The team competes against both NCAA and club teams throughout California. They usually place at the top of the club bracket, right behind Cal State Fullerton and UCSD. Last year, the squad placed fourth overall, behind Fullerton, UCSD and UCLA. The players hope to capitalize on the new additions to their team and propel themselves into either second or third place overall.

“We got a lot of new people from the Activities Fair and the Fun and Fitness Festival,” Plaxton said. “We could place second if we are able to beat [UCSD].”

In Sunday’s tournament at UCLA, the men’s foil team finished first and the men’s epee team won 2-1. With the solid results, the team is well on its way to a strong finish at the end of this season.

“We had a pretty strong showing this weekend,” sophomore co-president Jason Shattuck said. “I am definitely pleased with the results. We are making solid performances.”

With its next tournament on Feb. 8 at Rob Gym, Santa Barbara’s practices will focus on teaching the new members more of the basics of fencing and getting the experienced members more quality time with Tiffany.

“We could always use more people on the team,” Pingel said. “It would be nice if we could field a men’s sabre team and a women’s epee team. We know there are experienced fencers around campus, but they just do not know about us.”

The team does get a few members from the fencing classes offered by the Physical Activities and Recreation Dept., but these classes are by no means a requirement to be on the team.

“Most people who are on the team have never fenced before,” Plaxton said. “But we do get a few who have taken the classes offered by the school.”

For more information about fencing, please e-mail .


Nov. 23-25 Annual Turkey Trot 5k/10k Run & Walk. Registration begins at 8 a.m. Races begin at 9:30 a.m. behind the Ucen.

Nov. 23 Men’s and women’s Rugby Alumni Game at Rob Field. Game begins at 11 a.m.

Nov. 23-24 Cycling for WCCC Mountain Bike Championships

Nov. 23-24 Men’s Ultimate for the So Cal Warm-Up at UC San Diego