Since December 2022 Lanzarote has its very first official Fencing Club, Artorius. I met with 2 founding members Captain Paul D. Kersey and restaurateuse Miet Vaes from the well-known Bistro Árbol to talk about it.
This foil club was established in July 2021 and they started the process of making it official right away. It’s taken a painfully long year and a half of bureaucracy but thanks to the persistence and perseverance of Alexa Woods -together with Nadia Vliegen and Birgit Vaes – the other founding member, they have achieved their goal. Artorius Club de Esgrima is now affiliated to the Canarian Fencing Federation, Federación Canaria de Esgrima (FCE) and also to the Royal Fencing Federation of Spain, Real Federación Española de Esgrima (RFEE).
Apparently, there are other affiliated clubs in the bigger islands of Gran Canaria and Tenerife but Artorius is the first club in Lanzarote. Being federated means that now they can compete and opt for grants and sports schemes which in turn, will help the club grow.
President and Coach Paul comes from Cornwall originally, where he had his own club, St. Austell Fencing Club. He has been 35 years involved in the sport. He first tried it while he was on holiday and he was hooked for life. Whereas Miet became interested here in Lanzarote back in 2018 on and off until the club has taken its current shape.
The name of the club is a cheeky (or should we say Cornish) wink to King Arthur, obviously, and it represents the love and the passion for this sport. The club wants to bring this sport closer to people. It’s something fun and different to do and it also involves a lot of brain work, not just physical. It’s like chess for the body. Plus, the club has an optional social side to it, as members have become good friends and they often go for tea and coffee after their training sessions.
The members have all developed quite distinctive styles of fencing, despite of all being taught by the same coach. This has earned them a nickname each:
- Angry Hamster for Paul
- Scorpion aka Silent Assassin for Miet
- Lioness for Nadia
- Stealth Bomber for Alexa
- Gazelle for Birgit
They even have personalised masks, over time to reflect that – they remind me of the pilots’ nicknames and their helmets in Top Gun!
But not to worry, if you want to give it a go, they will provide you with all the necessary equipment. And starting at 13 years old, all levels are welcome.
Currently training sessions are taking place on Thursday mornings from 10h to 11:30h at Centro Cinco Plazas on Calle Rociega, 2 in Puerto del Carmen.
The club is also available to go and do some exhibitions, demonstrations, workshops around the island and once they have proper, more suitable premises, they plan on doing Open Doors Days too. Their advice is come and have a go, you’ll be surprised at how much fun fencing is.
For booking or enquires, feel free to WhatsApp Paul on +44 7907 69 16 50.
I would like to thank Paul and Miet for their time and congratulate once more the club on becoming official and wishing them all the best in their future plans.