"We are the children's advocates. We are the stewards of the next generation."
Head Coach Jay Choi
Jay has initiated his coaching training during the late 90's and developed practical experience at various high school, college and private clubs throughout the northeastern U.S. Athletes under his care during this period moved onto successful career in the NCAA fencing, while some developed into professional fencing coaches and/or club owners themselves. During this stage, he also owned and operated two fencing clubs in upstate NY -- one of which, evolved into American branch of the Beaches Sabre Club.
Jay later on developed an apprenticeship under mentors, Wes Glon and Emik Kaidanov, both coaches of the Penn State University Fencing Team (among the most successful fencing teams in the NCAA). During this time, Jay has also developed an extensive refereeing expertise through a rigorous voluntary developmental regiment experienced like no other in the world, with a specific goal of accelerating his understanding of various systems. He has presided on the medal rounds of various national championships and continental cup events, as well as a coveted multi-season invitation to the NCAAs (honor bestowed upon a mere 16 out of 3400+ registered fencing referees in the U.S. each year)
Jay moved to California in order to coach full-time at the Elite Musketeer Fencer's Club, and moved onto becoming head coach of the First Place Fencing Club. Athletes under his care during this stage have seen medal-level success at local, regional, national and international levels. He has also, during this time, contributed to developing political relations, domestic and foreign, in the process, securing a long-term support agreement with Patrick Durkan of the New York Athletic Club.
Currently studying Aladar Kogler's Hugarian method in teaching sabre techniques, Jay has coached athletes into their highest performance level yet - including age group national champions and medalists, Veteran world champion, JO Bronze, team Gold/Silver at NACs and JOs. He also makes it a point to stay involved with our beginners and youth programs, in contrast to traditional pyramid model of keeping elite level resources only to the elite members. He feels very strongly about properly starting out everyone of our athletes with solid fundamentals, excellent techniques and inclusive attitude, which contributes towards our goal of establishing the largest sabre program in the west coast.
Coach Chris Atwood
Chris started fencing in 2003 as a Highschool Athlete in New Jersey. In college, Chris founded the George Mason University Fencing Club, where it joined the Baltimore Washington Collegiate Fencing Conference. With a team comprised largely of beginner fencers, Mason went undefeated in its first year winning a team gold medal as well as 3 weapon squad medals. Immidately upon joining a conference, GMU fencing has gone on to win 2 overall team gold medals, and 1 team silver medal in the 4 years after joining a conference.
After getting a start coaching in the collegiate environment, Chris has gone on to coach at various professional clubs through New Jersey and Virginia. Chris has studied under Andy Ma (current Head Coach of the University of Pennsylvania) Michael Marx (5 Time olympian as an athlete, 4 time Olympian as a coach) and Patrick Durkan (Head Sabre Coach at the New York Athletic Club. He has also trained at the United States Fencing Coaches College at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. Chris is a nationally rated referee having officiated finals bouts at North America Cups and National Championships.
Upon moving to California, Chris was the youngest professional fencing coach in the country. In August of 2010, Chris and Jay opened Peninsula Fencing Academy. Since moving to California, Chris has coached multiple national medalists in Sabre across all age groups from Under 10 to over 60.
Outside of fencing specifically, Chris is a student of human mechanics, and studying the nervous system in its relationship to movement, pain management and athletic performance. He is a certified Movement Re-education Specialist and pain therapist focusing on retraining movement patterns to maximize efficiency and eliminate pain. Chris has helped numerous individuals eliminate chronic pain or mobility issues by retraining their nervous system.
Chris strongly believes there is a high level athlete inside of every student. There is no one who "just isn't talented." Inside of every person that walks through the door of Peninsula Fencing Academy, Chris sees a potential champion. It is his job to bring the champion out of each and every student.
Assistant Coach Elizabeth Jug
Elizabeth is a natural learner, and a natural leader. She embraces the very ideals we hope to teach -- excellence through perseverance, joy through mastery. Under the guidance of Jay Choi, she absorbs every knowledge and tackles every challenge thrown her way with exceedingly positive attitude.
She has a very unique experience of (within the same year) having reached a gold medal round of North American Cup, started her first year in college, won gold and silver medals in NACs and Junior Olympic team events, all the while holding onto a near-full-time responsibility in her teaching apprenticeship as a Cadet athlete (in fencing terms, that means she was 16-yrs old at the time!) She finds joy in spending countless hours on mastering the basics to which she attributes her success. It's the same ideals she strives to instill on the children she teaches.
Elizabeth is also a nationally certified referee. She spent last two seasons regularly officiating at local and regional tournaments, oftentimes up to gold medal rounds. We are proud of her impeccable integrity and maturity under pressure.