January 1, 2012


MA SouthShore SaEF Fencing Clubs                 www.Fencing-SaEF.com

Harry A. Shamir – Head Coach

508 747 5803;  Fencing_SaEF1@verizon.net

Fencing – the SPORT stemming from the European martial art of self defense using a sword.   The sport is safe and uses NO sharp edges nor points.

Benefits:   FUN, improvement in intelligence (!!!  as reported by all coaches queried on the topic), increase in mental and physical reaction speed and thought processes, improved physical fitness, improved withstanding intimidation, learning to "read" the opponent.


Year round activities at currently one SouthShore locale:  Kingston on Sundays and other days on request.    Other locales on request.      Special summer accelerated courses.

Courses & Ages:         SabreK: 7 1/2 to 9 1/2 (preferably with a parent or grandparent);  Sabre (metal):  9 to 12;   Foil:  9 1/2  thru mature Adult;  SabreM: very mature Adult (can be taught with SabreK). 

Open Fencing (all weapons by request):         Kingston Foil:  3:00 to 4:30 and 6:30 to tired (Sabre and Epee on request).


Winter/Spring 2016-7 registration is currently ongoing.
Call 508 747 5803 or e-mail Fencing_SaEF1@verizon.net


Normally, we offer one meet per week, lasting 1 or 1½ hrs each.


Summers we offer 2 hrs/day, 1 or 2 or 3 or 4 or 5 days per week.

Each course segment lasts 10-12 hrs.



Kingston:        Instructor is Mr Harry Shamir.

Sundays, currently at the Kingston UU Church's Beal House (220 Main St, Rt 106 - from rt 3, xt 9 --> west)

2:00 to 3:00  SaberK

3:00 to 4:30  Advanced Foil, level 3 and up

4:30 to 6:00 or 5:00  to 6:30 Foil1 for beginners

6:30 to whenever tired   Open Floor - all ages, all weapons.


No courses registered at this time, please register to eventually have a course at the YMCA's Camp Yomechas.


We are open to suggestions regarding opening new SaEF Clubs sites.


[  not active   Middleboro :    YMCA,  61 East Grove St, Middleboro, MA  02346.  Contact Ms Okolita 508 947 1390 to request renewal of offering]

Kingston:  @ Kingston UU Church's Beal House 222 Main St (Rt 106), Kingston 02364.  From Rt 3 take xt 9, go west for 1/2 mile, take fork left onto Rt 106, then 1/4 mile & left into Beal House parking lot.

Please spread the word.

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January 19, 2008

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q:        Why Fencing?

A:         There are four main reasons:

1.                  Physical

2.                  Intellectual

3.                  Emotional

4.                  Character building


1.                  The physical is simple:  fencing is a sport, it involves the body, you need some muscles especially in the legs, the calves, the upper leg, as well as stamina for holding the weapon and strength for moving it rapidly.

It also vastly improves the coordination between the physical and mental (see #2).

2.                  The intellectual is slightly more complex.  It is my contention that fencing actually improves and develops aspects of intelligence.  This contention is based both on our and many other coaches' empirical experience, and on the essence of fencing: the need to read yourself, to read your opponent, to estimate correctly what his/her next move might be, based on the visual cues you perceive, generate an instantaneous plan of action involving both the strategies appropriate for this bout or stage of the bout, as well as the tactics to be best used to counter whatever move your opponent is doing or in your estimation is planning on doing, and all this in literally a few milliseconds.  This time span, milliseconds, also implies that much of the analysis and action are performed not by the slower consciously thinking frontal brain lobes, rather by the much faster processing in the "rear" of the brain, what used to be called the subconscious, what in Star Wars was dubbed "the Force", as in "may the Force be with you".  Inasmuch as in order to extract from this section of your brain the correct instructions to your limbs and body, you must have taught it the sequences to expect, the tactics to be used, in other words you must have undergone training, proper training, and have garnered as much experience as possible in actually bouting a variety of opponents.  The more you do this, the better you get.  Note the improvement rate is not linear over time.

Our students all report that their academic class standing improves within one year of fencing at least 1-2 hrs per week.

3.                  The emotional needs to be understood:  in learning to fence your initial opponent is yourself.  Overcoming all the emotional downs and ups within the learning process is itself hard enough.  Once having learned the basics, then one is faced with the need to overcome the opponent's attempts to intimidate you, and you need to learn to intimidate the opponent.  This is not as simple as it might sound.  It includes a very large number of subtleties, learned over time.  Of course they spill out into other facets of life, work and play and social life, e.g. the interrelationships between people, at meetings, and so forth.

4.                  Character building is both deliberate educating, and a byproduct of fencing.  The deliberate educating is teaching to develop a personal ethical honor system by which one is willing to admit having lost a point even if in heart of hearts one thinks otherwise – in other words put your long range goals of success and good reputation before the satisfaction of short range ego.  As a byproduct of fencing the character gets built since by definition you must abide by the rules of the game, and (horror of horrors) accept the dictates of the judges though these might seem quite arbitrary at times.  Hence the personal voluntary social discipline, a fundamental stipulation of civilized living, becomes rooted.  Very much to this point, we strive to teach to recognize and overcome intimidation.


Q:        Is there something in Fencing for people afflicted with ADHD?

 A:         As a derivative of the above points, I have come to an empirical conclusion.  It is my personal opinion that people with ADHD, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, can actually gain from this sport.  It forces the person to pay attention over longer spans of time, as long as facing the opponent, and enables the hyperactivity to express itself in brief sequences of extremely rapid but controlled activity.  We have noticed that in 5 touch bouts (that last three minutes) the attention spans seem to be sufficient;  however in 15 touch bouts, it begins to strain the ADHD fencer.  There is indication that over time the need to concentrate for the full 15 touch bout, actually increases the active attention span.  We use zen-relaxation as a method to reset the brain in the (2) one minute intervals in 15 touch bouts.

 Q:        At what age should one start?

 A:         Actually there is no limitation.  Each age and every physical status can engage in this sport.  If, that is, there is wisdom and proper guidance in selection of the type of fencing.  For children 7 1/2  – 9 1/2 we offer SabreK, based on the principles of Sabre fencing, but using a short plastic "weapon".  For mature adults 40's and up we offer SabreM, an exercise class built on the principles of Sabre.  For 9 1/2 yr olds thru very mature adults we offer Foil.  Alternative to Foil, we introduce Sabre, then Epee upon demand in early teens.  In Europe the starting age can be as young as 6, but we have not been successful with students younger than 7 1/2.

 Q:        Is there a way to bond kids with Parents and Grandparents using fencing?

 A:         Indeed there is.  All weapons can be taught to both the child and an adult at same time.  Eventually the co-training and  bouting create true partner bonding.   Grandparents participating with the kids in SabreK, enhance kids' class discipline and oldster's physical discipline.  Both SabreK & SabreM make use of a so called "weapon" made of plastic with the blade a mere 20" short.  It is much more suitable for both the physical size of children's arms, as well as the needs of the SabreM exercise group.

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To Poke, to Touch, to Skewer, to Dice?  That is the question on South Shore

July 8, 2011

Not culinary matters, rather an “aristocratic” European martial art.  Fencing came about from training for dueling using Courtier’s swords in the days of Royalty.  Aristocratic families originally got to rule via war, by dint of bloodthirst, cruelty, and nasty habits we’d consider criminal of worst sort.  However, war-arts have always fascinated people, with dueling a favorite.  In the 19th Century the Europeans wisely decided to eliminate the right of citizens to kill each other privately, making murder and dueling illegal.  America followed suit, except in the Wild West and Hollywood cowboy movies.  To preserve their livelihood, the teachers of swordmanship invented the Sport of Fencing.  At the start the existing training tools were used:  the training Foil, the blunted Epee, and the simplified Sabre.  The Epee, when not blunted, was just the lethal weapon of old, a folded version of the Rapier.  The Foil was to teach children.  Instead of defeating the opponent by drawing blood or perforating to death, a “touch” sufficed to gain a point.  Instead of pain and death deciding, a Director refereed the bout.  Regulation protective clothing and mask were added since then*, and the MA South Shore SaEF Fencing Clubs (SaEF) takes pride in striving for extreme safety.  SaEF stands for Sabre+Epee+Foil, and when pronounced "sayyeef" also means Sword and Fencing in both Hebrew and Arabic.

SaEF was founded on a Plymouth sidewalk in 1997 by Mr. Harry Shamir, who learned the art in his 40’s at the Boston Fencing Club.  Initially with one lone student, it now boasts over 1000 people on its list of current and former participants, ranging in age from 8 thru 68.  Head Coach Shamir spent a portion of three summers at the Coaches’ College at the Olympics village of Colorado Springs.  He learned the finer points of instructing Foil, Epee, and Sabre according to the lights of the United States Fencing Association (USFA).  This is different from Classical Fencing as practiced by many, including Mr. Warren Cabral, a former Plymouthian and Senior Coach at SaEF now in FL.  The USFA accepts only electrically scored bouts, whereas Classical fencers prefer the honor system or human Judging.  SaEF students are taught proficiency in both.

Most people in their 50’s and up (say to late 70’s), usually lose quickness and reflex motor abilities, since these are not elements they hone in life.  Mr. Shamir wishes to help this group with fencing arithmetic: subtract ten years from age, and add these to life.  Therefore one of the courses the SaEF Clubs offer is SabreM (M=Mature). 

To teach children 7 1/2- 9 1/2, Mr. Shamir has modified a plastic sturdy “toy” sabre which lends itself to a relatively safer, lower cost, more fun and play version of the art. 

Foil or Saber are the first “weapon” normally taught from age 9 1/2 and up.  Once skilled, other weapons follow.  Then the person adopts one as “his/her” weapon.  USFA competitions grant the fencer a standing in the world community, perhaps even to the Olympics.  Basic requirements are willingness, stick-to-it-ness, and natural intelligence.  It always amazes people how quickly the art of wielding a 35” steel rod becomes second nature.  This writer has a theory:  since chimps and other primates are known to fabricate long and slender tools from branches, to “fish” for termites and ants from their hills, could it be that use of the “long and slender” tool (spear, lance, arrow, knife, broomstick, screwdriver, etc) has become part of our genetic inheritance? 

To contact the MA South Shore SaEF Fencing Clubs, please call Mr. Shamir at 508 747 5803, email Fencing_SaEF1@verizon.net  , or look up www.Fencing-SaEF.com. 

* :   A fencing class late 1800's:  can you count just how many things are absolutely wrong here, by our lights?:

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