Tokyo Legacy

Leon Paul and the Japanese Fencing Association have partnered up for a second time. This is an exciting time for us to be involved with Japanese fencing. The first time we worked together was around the 2012 Olympics, I had been inspired by a speech by Yuki Ota that he gave in London about what he had need to succeed in sport.

Yuki and Peter with our forge machine.
First hit wins

Yuki had talked about how 10,000 hours of practice was not enough, and it was only when he had the full package of support, training, coaching and a little luck that he was able to succeed on the very highest stage, the Olympics. Here are my brief notes I made during the speech all those years ago:

After that, I was determined to work with Japan and the team that Yuki had talked about. The first time we sponsored the team we provided kit for some of the top fencers and designed some special, secret equipment to try and improve athlete’s performance.

Fast forward 7 years and we are on the cusp of the next Olympic games, which will be held in Tokyo, and I cannot wait. After I visited Tokyo in 2018, to visit clubs, coaches and meet with Yuki and the Japanese Fencing Federation, we decided that we should change focus for the next partnership. We have moved our focus from the high level athletes and decided that we should look to create a lasting legacy from the Games. We are still supplying some kit for the team and looking at ways to give Japanese fencers the best chance of success. For example, when I visited the Japanese fencing training centre I noticed that some of the scoring kit they were using look quite old, when I tested them I found that the timings for some of the weapons was out of specification. That meant the athletes were training the wrong speeds and distance on a daily basis. We quickly helped lend the Federation new scoring systems that had the correct timings, that will be used at the Tokyo Olympics. I believe that Leon Paul are the only fencing company that have designed and made a machine that can test all the timings in fencing scoring systems. We can tell if you are fencing to the latest rules.

The new focus for this sponsorship is;

  • To create new fencers and coaches after the 2018 games has finished. We want to create more competitions for youth fencing, also making their events cheaper to run and easier to set up. This is based on the very successful Leon Paul Junior Series we run in the UK but modified for the cultural and environmental differences of Japan. For example, the we will incorporate our ‘Fencing Passport’ that kids use to track their competition results:
  • To provide a simple to use, but fantastic looking finals set up so that the federation can visit schools and public display areas to showcase the very best of the sport.
  • To cultivate a wireless revolution, by helping clubs and coaches get competition level wireless fencing sets so that they can fence anywhere, quickly and easily.
  • To translate the fantastic children’s fencing book; About Fencing
About Fencing

I am hugely excited to see the fencing in Tokyo 2020, but I am equally excited to see a fencing legacy can be left so that even more people can learn and enjoy the sport, and perhaps make the next generation of legends like Yuki Ota’s for Japan.

Ben Paul and Yuki Ota

Environmental strategy what’s our plan? Ben Paul – Part 2

BYO!! (bring your own…. water, not alcohol) 

If you have been reading our previous blog posts, then you will know we are continually looking at how we can reduce our environmental impact on the planet. Part of the project is to reduce our plastic use and plastic footprint. Leon Paul runs and services many fencing events worldwide, and one of the things that you notice is that after the events the hall is littered with plastic bottles. Even though these can be recycled, I would say nine times out of ten, they end up in landfill.

This year with British Fencing, Dr Clare Halsted and Marcus Mepstead, we are looking to make our fencing events single-use plastic bottle free.

The best place to start is where we can have the quickest impact. Here at the Leon Paul Fencing Centre we have a vending machine, as we cannot prepare food on site without a licence. We have stocked water and energy drinks for years, but no more! We have replaced the water fountain for a new refrigerated water dispenser designed to be used with reusable water bottles.

The vending machine will now sell empty sports water bottles so you can fill your own with cold water. From now on, if you visit, remember to bring your own water.

At events that we travel to, we have no control over what they sell in vending machines or the facilities that they have. Therefore, we are limited to trying to promote our ideas before events and in the venues.

About one year ago, Marcus Mepstead, one of our sponsored British Foilists, was asking me what more he could do for Leon Paul. I jokingly said. “Save the World or win an Olympic medal”, to be fair, he is on course for giving the latter a good go! Marcus has also engaged with a company that recycles plastic and turn it into very strong fibres, and he is working on a campaign “fighting for the ocean”. Look out for more on this in a future blog post.

Here he is promoting bringing your own to fencing events.

Finally, we decided we need some eye-catching images that we could place around competitions and fencing centres to remind athletes of our goals. People have produced some stunning photos that can relay an idea far better than any words. I asked my friend, fencer and talented designer Jason Scrimshaw to come up with some images and I love the final version.

And here is the artwork in action on the new ‘Say no to rubbish’ banner for the fencing centre.

Are you already trying to avoid plastic in training and competitions? Let us know in the comments and share your strategies with the fencing world!

From fencer to fencer: my Leon Paul Weapon Carrier Pro review

Our new fencing bag is here! Fencers, please meet the weapon carrier pro. At first glance, it may look a bit like a traditional top bag you would usually use to carry your weapons around during tournaments, but actually our new release is far more than that. We aimed at nothing less than the – almost – impossible. Offering you a fencing bag that holds all of your kit (yes, even if you’re a pro), but that can still be comfortably worn over your shoulders. For that reason, it couldnʼt bear the name “weapon carrier PRO” without at least being tested by one! Meet professional fencer Ben Peggs, who is used to travelling all around the world for World Cup tournaments, and other fencing events. Read on to discover the review (and vlog!) by the former European Games Champion and current Commonwealth Champion.

Continue reading “From fencer to fencer: my Leon Paul Weapon Carrier Pro review”

Golden Hat trick in Sharjah

In September 2018, the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games qualifying period for wheelchair fencing started and will run through until May 2020. For me, my qualifying period could not have got off to a better start, winning both the World Cup Epee events in Tbilisi, Georgia & Kyoto, Japan and so I was delighted to be able to carry my form through into the new season and secure my third Epee Gold of the qualifiers by taking the win in Sharjah, U.A.E!

Continue reading “Golden Hat trick in Sharjah”

Reasons for choosing Leon Paul – the story of Polish top fencer Radosław Zawrotniak

“When you fence at a world class level, you need to be sure that your epee will not fail you when you’re at a decisive moment of the match”. These are the words of Radosław Zawrotniak (or Radek, for his friends), the best Polish épée fencer. We got Radek to reveal us his opinion about fencing equipment. What’s most important to him when selecting an epee? What makes fencing clothing truly outstanding? What should a fencer pay attention to when choosing their mask? And why did the Leon Paul Fusion Pro blade win his heart?

 

Continue reading “Reasons for choosing Leon Paul – the story of Polish top fencer Radosław Zawrotniak”

Golden start to Tokyo2020 Qualifiers

The 2018 season for me seems to have flown by and just when I felt I was getting back into my flow again, following my World cup Epee Gold in Pisa back in March, I then had a long break through to the next competition in July, the Warsaw World cup, where I took Epee Gold, Sabre Bronze & Team Foil Silver!

Continue reading “Golden start to Tokyo2020 Qualifiers”

From fencing mask making to record stores – an unusual London City Guide by Alex Massialas (part 2)

From London-Hendon to a district where the British capital feels a lot like San Francisco, from making fencing equipment to buying music albums… here’s the second part of our not-so-ordinary London city guide, written by Olympic Silver medalist (and big rock’n’roll lover!) Alexander Massialas. If you want to know where London’s best record store is (no, it’s not in one of the more touristy boroughs!) or how Alex tackled the challenge to make a fencing mask in our factory (fans of our #FactorytourFriday series on Instagram, this is for you!), then we recommend you read on!

Continue reading “From fencing mask making to record stores – an unusual London City Guide by Alex Massialas (part 2)”

From a fencer and music lover to fencers and music lovers. An unusual London city guide

 

After more than five years, when you come back to the city where you fenced your first Olympics, it is always a special occasion that it’s worth highlighting by some unique experiences. But when world class foil fencer Alex Massialas, the then youngest member of the US delegation in the 2012 London Olympics, got back to the British capital in 2018, he had a very specific plan for his visit: he didn’t want it to be just any sightseeing trip, but one that fell perfectly in line with his interests. That the latter involve fencing won’t come as a surprise to anybody (and for good reason, Alex earned an individual Silver medal in the Rio 2016 Olympics and is a regular in the world’s top 10), but did you know that our favourite member of the US foil team is also very fond of music, especially rock’n’roll? So what else could we do except ask him to write down his experience in a travel diary…in order to offer you an unusual, yet incredibly compelling city guide to our brand’s hometown? Read ahead for all the details of Alex’s itinerary – the results of this have been ratified and tested by international Leon Paul employees, take our word for it.

Continue reading “From a fencer and music lover to fencers and music lovers. An unusual London city guide”

(Fencing) Lessons Learnt – And Fun Had. My Experience at the Leon Paul Sabre Camp.

Six weeks of summer holidays without fencing? That does nothing for true fencing lovers, who will start to miss their fencing life after a couple of weeks. So Leon Paul’s training camp in London in early August was the perfect match (and best mix of city trip, fencing fun, and language holiday) for Leon Paul sponsored Valentin Meka, a U14 sabre fencer from Dormagen, Germany. Want to know what happened when he decided to give up on his sunbed at the beach for a fencing piste? Read on…

Continue reading “(Fencing) Lessons Learnt – And Fun Had. My Experience at the Leon Paul Sabre Camp.”

What a day! What a competition! – My experience at Challenge SNCF Réseau 2018 (Men’s epee Worldcup)

Every fencer has it: a personal collection of special moments. A day you’ll remember. A match ended with a close win. A competition that leaves not just medals, but memories.
For Leon Paul sponsored fencer Bas Verwijlen the 2018 edition of Challenge SNCF Réseau in Paris, one of the most important events of the worldcup series in Men’s epee, does definitely belong to that category of unforgettable experiences. Read on for his full report about his day and how he made it to the podium. 

Continue reading “What a day! What a competition! – My experience at Challenge SNCF Réseau 2018 (Men’s epee Worldcup)”