Our Students

Experiences from some of our students

Lena Kunjan

When did you start fencing with IFA? Started with IFA in 2011 at age 13.

Top Results: Tournoi de la ville de Dijon, Junior World Cup Women’s Epee, January 7th, 2017, placed 22nd; Div 2 Women’s epee,/Oct NAC, 2014, top 8

Why did you start fencing?   My brother started fencing first, then I thought I should tried it since it looked interesting and it ended up getting me addicted to the sport.

What are your fencing goals?  Olympics

What do you like best about IFA?  The friendly atmosphere and the support it gives the fencers.

What is a favorite memory of training with Coach Ra’ad?  When he would suit up and fence his students (which only rarely happens though)

What is a favorite memory of competing with IFA?  One time at JOs we got stuck in a snow storm and had to stay an extra day after the competition so Coach Raad, another team mate, and I rented a car and explored Washington DC.

Are you going to college? If so, what school and did fencing help you to get there?  I’m going to the University of Wuerzburg, Germany.

Anju Frances Loveridge

When did you start fencing with IFA?  Started with IFA in 2015 at age 15.
Top Results:  TFC’s SpringFest RJCC Cadet, 2016 – 15th, TFC’s SpringFest RJCC Junior, 2016 – 25th
Why did you start fencing?  I was looking for sport that pushed my physical limits as well as my mental agility. Unlike other sports, fencing requires both a strong body and mind. In fencing you must learn how to analyze your opponent and calculate your every move, similar to a chess game. Fencing is unlike any other sport I have done and I enjoy the never ending challenges it presents me.
What are your fencing goals?  I am interested in seeing how far I can go. Initially, I am focusing on gaining experience and technique in NACs with the goal of qualifying for Division 1 and to qualify for a national team in the future.
What do you like best about IFA? IFA’s community is outstanding, I have learned a lot from my fellow fencers and have made many friends. The environment is suited for enabling individuals to excel in their own way. I really enjoy the coaches and their ability to push me to new limits.
What is a favorite memory of training with Coach Ra’ad?  My favorite memory of training with of IFA coaches is when they helped me overcome my weaknesses and pushed me to become a stronger fencer. With the encouragement of the coaches, I have been able to achieve personal goals I have set in fencing.
What is a favorite memory of competing with IFA?  My favorite memory of competing with IFA was at my first competition and at my first NAC. At both events, my team mates cheered me on, told me stories of their own experiences at competitions and gave me advice on what to do. Their encouragement and advice helped settle my nerves and allowed me to fence with confidence.
Are you going to college?  If so, what school and did fencing help you to get there? I am planning to attend college but have not selected which one yet. I am very interested in finding a college with a good fencing program that would also offer me the ability to further my studies for a career in medicine.

Kristine Mendes

When did you start fencing with IFA? Started with IFA in 2015 at age 35.
Why did you start fencing?  I started fencing because it looked fun, was close to home, and once I met the coach and students at IFA, I knew I had found “my people.”
What are your fencing goals?  I fence purely to have fun and stay active.
What do you like best about IFA?  My favourite part of IFA is the people; everyone is very respectful, regardless of age or skill level, and the atmosphere is positive for both competitors and recreational fencers alike. I’ve made some great friends at IFA.
What is a favorite memory of training with Coach Ra’ad? I have been fencing for less than two years, all at IFA, and already there are so many memories. Off the top of my head a few include: the time we ditched our traditional fencing weapons and tried our hand at throwing knives, and the look on the coach’s face when one of the usual recreational fencers failed to show up for practice but came for our weekly post- class drinks!
Are you going to college?  If so, what school and did fencing help you to get there? Nope! But if only I had known about fencing in my youth, maybe I would be a competitor now, rather than just a beginner!

Miles Chaston

When did you start fencing with IFA?  Started with IFA in 2010 at age 36.
Why did you start fencing?  Exercise, coordination and meeting new people
What are your fencing goals?  Having fun, keeping fit and teaching others how to fence
What do you like best about IFA?  Friendly people
What is a favorite memory of training with Coach Ra’ad?  Our trip to Jordan

Nick Miley

When did you start fencing with IFA? Started with IFA in 2011 at age 6.

Top Results:

Why did you start fencing?  Initially, I wanted to be a pirate. Now, fencing is part of who I am.

What are your fencing goals?  To win. In a few years, I’d like to go to the Junior Olympics.

What do you like best about IFA?  Coach Ra’ad. IFA makes me feel good, I can really shine there.

What is a favorite memory of training with Coach Ra’ad?  Lots of memories. He encourages and challenges me to be better at fencing and in school.

What is a favorite memory of competing with IFA?  When I won my first DE at a NAC. My older teammates showed me what to do — how to sign the slip and personally walk it over to the bout committee.

Are you going to college? If so, what school and did fencing help you to get there?  Yes, I plan to go to college and am confident fencing will help me get into a great school — maybe I’ll even get a scholarship.

Alexander Yule

When did you start fencing with IFA? Started with IFA in 2015 at age 11.

Top Results: 27th in Region, 3rd place in cadet Junior Olympics qualifiers all in first season.

What are your fencing goals? Become the best Fencer I can and make it to top 8 in some major tournament.

What do you like best about IFA?I like the quality of the training which I can see in my results and being around my friends.

What is a favorite memory of training with Coach Ra’ad?  My favorite memory of training with coach Ra’ad was when we would do private lessons. I haven’t done a lot with him but all the ones I have done so far have been very helpful and I have used a lot.

What is a favorite memory of competing with IFA? My favorite memory was when I got 3rd in the JO qualifiers. Coach Ra’ad helped me beat someone in the DE’s 15-10 who beat me 5-0 in the pools. I enjoyed fencing in tournaments, and I always have.

Sana Pandey

When did you start fencing with IFA? Started with IFA in 2015 at age 12.

Top Results: Silicon Valley RYC, 2016, Top 32, ranked 19

Why did you start fencing?  I was initially curious about the sport, and when I found that I really enjoyed it, I decided to pursue it.

What do you like best about IFA?  I like how while it strengthens your fencing skills, IFA also includes you in a strong community that supports you throughout your training.

What is a favorite memory of competing with IFA?  The first time I participated in a tournament and won a bout, I felt really happy. But more importantly, when I lost, I did not feel bad. I still had fun participating because either way, my friends and my coaches were there to support me.