About Us

Royal Tunbridge Wells Fencing Club is a popular, friendly club for (almost) all ages. Founded by Jerry Raj and fencing legend Professor Steven Paul in 2005, RTWFC is now based at the Army Reserve Centre on St John’s Road and offers epee classes on Mondays, Thursdays and Sundays. The club is home to beginners aged 6 and up, and many experienced teen and adult fencers. It has produced several medallists at county and regional level, as well as being the proving ground for Piero Steiner, Amelia Dudley and James Russell – who have all gone on to excel at national age-group competitions. Besides group sessions, coaches Paul Beasley, Chris Higginson and Don Coe offer individual lessons for those fencers who want to accelerate their development.

Who’s Who

The coaches

Paul Beasley – Head Coach
A Level 3 Epee coach, Paul worked alongside Professor Steven Paul at the club since 2013. From 2016, Paul has been leading our weekday training sessions alongside fellow coaches Chris Higginson and Don Coe, and now heads up the increasingly popular Sunday morning club session. The former editor of Fighting Fit magazine and now a full-time epee fencing coach, Paul also contributed to Prof’s seminal Epee Fencing bookazine.

Chris Higginson – Assistant Coach / Covid-19 Officer
A Level 2 Epee coach, Chris has worked alongside Steve and Paul at the club since 2016. Now running our beginners courses on Mondays, Thursdays and Sundays, Chris does a brilliant job and – he’s also the club’s Covid-19 Officer.

Don Coe – Assistant Coach
Indefatiguable octogenerian Don helps out with the coaching on Mondays and Thursdays, as well as providing invaluable armoury services for the club.

The committee

Martin Briggs – Chairman
Relatively new to fencing but an experienced hand on various committees, Martin is the last of his family members to pick up an epee – the ‘tense theatre’ of Martin fencing Lindsey, his better half, is a most entertaining spectacle.

Val Cramb – Welfare Officer
Former international fencer Val has been our Welfare Officer since May. She also regularly ref matches at the Sunday club and at TWIST events – sadly, though, we haven’t managed to persuade this former British champion to step over the sidelines and re-enter the fencing fray…

Maria Machado – Treasurer
A pocket rocket on the piste, Maria should have no trouble dealing with her new role as Treasurer – her ability to figure out six rounds of matches under Swiss Chess rules at the SPITFIRE team competition impressed us all.

Amy Perry – Secretary; Deputy Welfare Officer
A Masters student whilst still working full time, Amy – whose footwork is as neat as a new pin – decided that she still wasn’t busy enough and agreed to be club secretary as well.

The legends

Steve Paul – Founding Coach
Professor Steven Paul (1954-2019) was a three-time Olympian, three-time National Champion and three-time Australian Champion – a fencing legend! We were lucky to have been able to attract him to the RTWFC as head coach, and we appreciated the exacting standards and inspirational leadership that he brought to the club.

Jerry Raj – Founding President
Jerry moved to Tunbridge Wells in 2002 and came with a desire to encourage quality epee fencing in the local area. Jerry, Lucy and his friend Steven Paul hatched a plan to start an epee club in Tunbridge Wells. Jerry is still active on the competitive fencing scene but claims that he peaked in 1983. Jerry was the 2007/08 National Veteran’s association Men’s Epee champion (category 1).