Local fencing academy, Silversword is celebrating an impressive 2019. The club has seen significant growth in numbers across all age groups from 5 to 55+ during 2019 and has achieved very impressive results at state, national and international levels.

The Academy’s youngest fencers, competing in the u8 age group both finished the year on top of the NSW rankings and also achieved the milestone of representing their state in the international Koala Cup challenge. Loredana Garner (8) and Jozal Karpur (7) finished 1st and 2nd respectively in NSW in the u8 girls foil age group. In u14 girls foil, Ashlin Stokes (13) achieved a ranking of 3rd in NSW and an impressive 5th at u15s.

Veteran women’s results were solid too with Colleen Stokes achieving an Australian ranking of 3rd in foil and 16th in the Opens category whilst Tanya Buchanan achieved an Australian ranking of 5th in Veterans women’s epee.  Both women were selected to NSW state teams at the recent National Championships in Canberra bringing home bronze, silver and gold medals from the open and veteran teams events.

In international results, Courtney Buchanan (19) was selected to the u20’s Australian women’s epee team for the 2019/20 season. Courtney recently made the switch from foil to epee as her weapon of choice. She has previously competed for Australia in foil and was a previous recipient of the Illawarra Mercury Tobin Award through the IAS as a foilist. However, the 2019/20 season marks her first international outing as an epeeist. In November, she competed with the Open women’s team in the Oceania Championships. The team put in an excellent display, defeating New Zealand to win the Gold.  Courtney is currently ranked in the top 10 in u20s, u23s and open levels in Australia and in January will be heading overseas to compete in the FIE World Cup Events and take part in a training tour with the Australian women and Italian fencers. In February she will compete at the Asian Championships and is looking ahead to the World Championships in the USA in April.

Head coach of Silversword Academy, Dr Arash Karpour said, “The Academy’s fabulous results through the year are a reflection of the hard work and dedication of our fencers. To be achieving such wonderful results from a regional club across two weapons is a wonderful reflection on our athletes and entire coaching team. We are looking forward to a massive 2020 with Courtney competing in the Australian team at the highest levels of international competition and later in the year Colleen competing in the Veteran Commonwealth Championships in Canada.”

Colleen Stokes (Veteran Women’s Foil)


 Loredana Garner and Jozal Karpour


Tanya Buchanan


Courtney Buchanan
Ashlin Stokes and Dr Arash Karpour (Head Coach)





Fencing is one of the few sports to have been included in every modern Olympics. It is in fact three different codes with three different weapons: foil, epee and sabre.

Foil :  The foil is a light weapon with a target area of your opponents’ torso. Only hits scored with the point of the blade will register and to score a fencer must have priority. Priority is taken by initiating an attack or by blocking an attack with a parry then counter-attacking with a riposte (reply).

Epee is also a point weapon, but not a priority weapon. You can attack at any time and hit any part of your opponent’s body from head to toe.  The modern epee is closest to the rapiers that were used in duels in centuries past. Epee is the heaviest weapon and bouts tend to take longer, but it requires tremendous point control to land hits on the top of your opponent’s wrist or on their big toe!

Sabre is a “slashing” weapon as hits can be scored with any part of the blade. It is also, like foil,  a priority weapon. The target area in sabre is the upper body, including the torso, arms and mask. Sabre is particularly fast and furious.

Scoring is done by electronic equipment hence the conductive jackets, made of woven metallic material that are worn by foil and sabre fencers. Epee doesn’t need a metallic jacket as all parts of the body are targeted.

Fencing is conducted on a metallic piste 14 metres long by 1.5 metres. Bouts are conducted in 3 minute sessions.

In the preliminary (ranking) round you fence each other fencer in your group or pool, usually of 7 fencers, in bouts of up to 5 hits.

For the direct elimination round, fencers are ranked according to their results in the pools round. Then higher ranked fencers compete with lower ranked fencers in a knock-out competition until the winner is decided. Usually four medals are awarded – gold, silver and two bronzes.

 Silversword Fencing Academy trains in Helensburgh and Sutherland Shire under the direction of international and dual weapon qualified head coach Dr Arash Karpour.

The Academy has a track record of developing elite fencers since its inception.