History & Constitution
The UBC Fencing Club is one of the oldest student-run clubs on campus and the longest running fencing club in British Columbia. The club was formed in 1928 and held its first ever meeting on March 22, 1928. The club held meetings and organized fencing lessons under the instruction of Lieutenant Gerard de Merveux, director of the British Columbia Swords Club. In addition to Lieutenant Gerard de Merveux's experience as a fencing instructor, he was also an aviator, physical culture instructor and worked for the film industry in Hollywood. The UBC Fencing Club officially became a club of the AMS on October 24, 1945 and held fencing lessons taught by Maitre d’Armes (fencing master), Hale Atkenson, who was also the chairman of the BC Fencing Commission and a member of the Olympic Association. In 1952, Maitre d’Armes, Paul Burkhardt, joined the club as the fencing coach. He was the Belgian master of arms, holding various international titles. Before coming to Canada, he was an instructor at the French Academy in Europe, teaching French masters how to improve their fencing. For his efforts in producing a winning varsity fencing team, Paul Burkhardt was awarded at the Big Block Awards Dinner in 1959 hosted by the UBC Athletics Department.
Throughout the decades, our fencers have competed in and medalled in many fencing competitions including the British Columbia Provincial Championships, Pacific International Fencing Tournament, Canada West Athletic Association Championships, British Columbia Novice Championships, Western Canadian Championships, Canada Winter Games, University of Washington Open Fencing Tournament and the Stephen Lazar Memorial Tournament.
We host the Stephen Lazar Memorial Tournament every year to commemorate our former UBC fencing coach, Stephen Lazar, who was killed in a car accident in 1972. Lazar was a fencer from the elite Hungarian army corps who fled his home country in 1956.
Today, we continue our tradition of stimulating interest in and enjoyment of the sport of fencing through recreational fencing, competitive training, competitions and social events.