History

Founded in 2000 by Scott Tundermann as the Northampton Fencing Center,  we operated in Northampton, and then South Hadley, and then Easthampton through 2006. Under Scott's leadership, the club's primary goals were to provide an outlet for primarily recreational fencing in all three weapons (foil, epee, and sabre) in the Pioneer Valley.

The club changed hands to Chris Spencer with a move back to South Hadley in 2006, and changed its name to Riverside Fencing Club. It moved to its current Hadley location in 2007. Under Chris's leadership, the focus of the club shifted to include more youth and competitive programming, still in all three weapons.

In 2008, Taro Yamashita became the head coach at Riverside, and took over as owner in 2009. Currently, Riverside strives to develop competitive fencers without losing touch with the fact that fencing is (and should be) fun. Under Taro's leadership, the club's focus has expanded to include veteran age (40+ years) athletes, but has narrowed to epee and foil instruction only.

Scott, Chris, and Taro are good friends, and still share coaching ideas whenever they get together. All three are products of intercollegiate fencing, and have remained active in collegiate fencing after their competitive years. 

Dianna McMenamin, who has been with the club since its days as the Northampton Fencing Center, was the first Riverside fencer to win a national title, in 2009. Julian Tyson earned a national title as a member of Riverside in 2010, and again in 2019. 

Riverside currently offers instruction in epee and foil fencing for fencers ages 10 to adult, from beginners to national champions.

Philosophy

Rule #1: Have fun!

Let's have fun, first and foremost. In a competitive sport, such as fencing, we cannot limit "fun" to the results we achieve; the fun must be inherent in the process of learning and mastering the discipline.

The process is one of constant challenge and improvement. Find a new way to challenge yourself, learn something to help rise to that challenge, master it, and repeat.

Along the path of improvement, perhaps not every aspect is, strictly speaking, "fun," (everyone is defeated, sometimes!) but the overall experience should be more smiles and laughter than not.