Some Words from the Fencers of Salle Honolulu...

When I first got the idea to feature Salle Honolulu in this quarter's TFA MAGAZINE, I had thought I'd be writing the articles and using quotes from the fencers who were kind enough to respond to e-mail I sent them asking them to tell me about themselves, their thoughts on the salle, or fencing in general.

After reading their responses, I decided that it would be a better course of action to let them do all the "talking." After all, A fencing salle is not really a room where you fence but the group of people who fence and who support it. So, then, here is what some of the people who have fenced at Salle Honolulu have to say. --Annie Morris, editor

Cathleen Pomponio--

I am a new member of Salle Honolulu. I have been fencing with this club since May of 2000. I arrived on Colin's birthday, sort of a surprise. I am new to Hawaii and did not expect to find fencing.

I first learned fencing in New Orleans with a Hungarian ex-gold medalist, Dr. Eugene Hamori, who defected during the cold war. After school I went to Fiji, and studied martial arts with some great people there, and continued martial arts in New Orleans when I returned to the states. So, coming back to fencing was a big decision, but since Salle Honolulu is a wonderful school with a very good teacher it has been an easy transition.

Why do we fence Salle Honolulu? I think it's Colin. He possesses a great deal of personal charm, is willing to listen to us students, and try things our way, even if we're not always right. He has managed somehow to involve his students in fun learning experiences, and we've been through dissapointments, but that's part of growing with a school. The school is ecclectic, much like my former martial arts teacher's class was, a bit of this, a bit of that. When a good epeeist came to hawaii to train with us, we all became epeeists, and we all became 25 years younger. Now he's trying to get me to learn how to set up electic scoring machines, which has me completely baffled, even though he's shown me a million times - the button is here, the switch is there....

I enjoy fencing in Salle Honolulu. We have met many, many interesting and diverse fencers. Our classmates do interesting things. Some paint. Some have ballet backgrounds, Sam does Phillipino fighting sticks.

We have a nice group of young people who are learning how to fence and it's becoming a family atmosphere. Our group is starting to gel and it's getting good there.


My name is Sam Mitchell. I'm 42 years old and have been fencing for more then 20 years. I'm a United States Fencing Coaches Association 3 weapon instructor who tries to stop by and fence at Salle Honolulu about once month. I was a former Aloha State Game gold medal winner in sabre & epee. I have fenced all weapons in two USFA National Companionships.

I started teaching fencing back in 1978 and I was Collin Chock's first fencing teacher when he was in High School. I'm also a student in Doce Pares Eskrima (Stick & Knife Fighting). Three weeks ago (August, 2000), I was at the 6th World Eskrima, Kali & Arnis Championship in Cebu, Philippines where I was able to video and take lessons from many Filipino Fencing masters. I was also able to teach some advanced foil moves to fencers from Spada Fencing Club at the University of the Philippines in Cebu.

Thank You, for taking the time to find out about Salle Honolulu Fencers -- Sam

Rochelle Uchibori--

I am a "Fencing Mom" of two boys, ages 8 and 13. I first met Colin Chock, founder of Salle Honolulu Fencing Club in1997. Our family had spent the summer in Denver where our oldest son, Clinton Bodley had taken fencing lessons at Cheyenne Fencing Society. He was very attracted to the sport and wanting to encourage his interest, I happen to come accross an advertisement in a Honolulu parent magazine for fencing lessons. Thus began our association with Salle Honolulu.

Colin is synonymous with Salle Honolulu. As founder, he is a tireless promoter of the sport, welcoming young and old of all skill levels and dedication. His patience and understanding with the coming and goings of his members is admirable, for fencing in the islands is an obscure sport and competes with many other oriental martial arts, water and land sports. My son has participated with Colin in many demonstrations at community events and schools. From these experiences, I see my son growing more confident in himself as a person.

At Salle Honolulu, young students learn along with the adults, each patiently guiding and assisting the less talented newcomers. There is comraderie between both competitive and recreational fencers. Salle has had the priviledge to have visiting coaches from Russia, and Italy and San Francisco. Recently the Women's Olympic fencing Foil team visited the islands and practiced at the Honolulu Club where Colin is the fencing pro. Colin invited the Salle membership to meet the team and watch them practice. This was a wonderful inspiring experience.

A lot of our communication is done via the internet, Colin will post attendance, member news, club policies, community sporting events, fencing literature and entertainment and most recently fencing news from the Olympics. Once he posted my son's participation in the State Science Fair competition. It is not unusual for us to also read as a side note that he saw a turtle or a manta ray while on his swimming workout, offshore Waikiki.

At first as a parent, I was drawn to Salle Honolulu by it's ability to offer my son lessons in the sport. But as the years has gone by, we find we have been rewarded with much more. Through the discipline of the sport and the affirming role models at Salle Honolulu, my oldest son has developed a stronger confidence in himself and has been rewarded with friendships he will keep for many years.

This month, my youngest son, Garrett, began with his first fencing lesson. And so, Salle Honolulu's influence continues in our family. -- Rochelle Uchibori ,Fencing Mom of Clinton and Garrett Bodley, Kailua, Hawaii

Paul Scherman--

My name is Paul Scherman and I have a club called Fencers On the Peninsula. I received my training as a fencing instructor at San Jose State University Fencing Masters Program directed by Maestro William M. Gaugler. I have current certification as Provost-at-Arms.

I was in Hawaii from August 26th to September 3rd. I went as part of my Navy reserve active duty training where I work as a photographer and for training as a navy journalist. I asked myself, "What is there to do in Hawaii besides hang out on the beach?" Fencing of course. I went to the USFA website and tracked down clubs in Hawaii and Salle Honolulu was courteous enough to answer my email.

Colin invited me to fence with him and members of his club.

I was impressed by Colin's spirit of "Aloha". On our first meeting I was greeted with the warmth of an old friend. Colin was professional and courteous when fencing and this carried over to members of Salle Honolulu. Colin was also extremely knowledgeable about fencing in the U.S.A. and we had long discussions on the matter I was surprised to meet a visiting epee fencer from Italy. Federico Bolliamo(SP?) was on vacation in Hawaii and was keeping up with his training at Salle Honolulu. This added a nice international flavour to my visit. Even though Federico was one of those typically annoying epee fencers (tall and skinny!) we still had fun.

The fencing was great and I also enjoyed the meals after our workouts. If you go to Hawaii it is important to explore the local hangouts and eat at the non-tourist eateries. Yum! Our conversations were about many things, but usually we ended up talking about fencing. I remember on night discussing the nature of the flick and whether or not it constitutes fencing and if the thicker blades and different tip pressures will bring fencing back to its duelling origins. Guess who took which side (see where I trained - LOL). We did come to the conclusion that we all love fencing. --Warmest regards, Paul G Scherman Provost at Arms, Fencers On the Peninsula

Federico Bollati--
(Visting epee fencer from Italy)Ttalking about my staying in Honolulu, I really enjoyed myself because of two main reasons: I fenced everyday with enthusiastic people who wanted to grow up in fencing practise and could have fun practising it and during my training period I met new real friends like Colin and all his clubmates!

Our "typical" training was characterised by 3 parts:

1. warm up, fencing conditioning (running, stepping, jumping)
2. stretching
3. footwork and practising (drilling each other, challenging)

At the end of training we were tired, but very satisfied!!

I remember a funny episode in the first days I was In Hawaii. Colin and I were training at Moiliili Community center; suddenly I remember I wanted to get a pair of Salle Honolulu shorts and I asked him for. Colin answered me me: "We haven't got any, but you'll get them tomorrow: THIS IS AMERICA!!". The day after I got the shorts...

Another funny happenings during my stay in Salle Honolulu have been chats I had with Colin about differences between Italian and English language: he tried to convince me that English was more difficult and I tried to convince him of the opposite!!
(I was told of this debate in e-mail from Colin and I had to side with him but if it had been about the beauty of the language, it might have been a different story.--editor.)

Ciao, Federico

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