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Created by three ECSU students: Hannah Winter, Angelique Greenberg, and Chris Minkiewicz.

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An End to an Era

Sword in the Scroll founder Drew Page passed away at his home this Wednesday evening, July 27th at the age of 52. Though cancer has taken him from us all too soon his spirit will always be present in the SITS community he has created. Drew founded Sword in the Scroll Fencing Academy in 2006 and has been Head Coach here for over 16 years. His passion for the sport was infectious, as was his commitment to bringing the sport of fencing to people of all social and economic backgrounds. For many of us Coach Drew has been an important and formative figure in our lives, and a true benefit to our community. He was deeply loved and he will be deeply missed.

A memorial service will be held next Saturday, August 6th 2:00pm at the 2nd Congregational Church, 1746 Boston Tpk. Coventry. A reception at the church will follow. The service will also be livestreamed. Those attending in person are asked to wear masks. In lieu of flowers the family is asking that donations be made to the SITS Endowment Fund as Drew preferred swords over flowers. A celebration of life party will happen at the end of summer/early fall.

About SITS

Fencing in the old church, 2006

Our club originally began as a historical combat group. Western Swordsmanship Technique and Research (or WSTR, LLC) was founded in 2004 by Drew Page and Ken Johnson to research and teach German longsword and other historical combat techniques. During the first year, Coach Steve Martin, a former fencing coach at UConn, joined the club and began talking about the modern sport of fencing. He eventually agreed to teach modern fencing to some of the longsword students. Drew and Steve decided to focus instruction on epee for several reason, but mainly because it was so similar to other techniques that club members had studied.

Our first fencing class took place in a church in Coventry in January, 2006. When we out grew that space, we moved to our current location in Willimantic. The fencing program continued to grow and expended to offer saber instruction. The historical fencing program was split off in 2011 and became its own non-profit organization. Our historical colleagues still train at our facility on Wednesday evenings.

Sophia (L) wins the Women’s Epee event at the SITS C & Under (April 2021)

Today, SITS is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. We have over 40 active members and have taught fencing to over 200 individuals. We have coached a two-time state high school champion, 6 Junior Olympians, and 2 USFA Summer National bronze medalist, including coach and Executive Director Drew Page.

FAQ

We start fencers at 9 in the Youth Fencing Program. Fencing requires safety equipment that is made to certain sizes. Some children may be too small to properly fit. Though we understand the excitement fencing offers young children, it may be appropriate to wait in some cases. Fencers 12 and up begin in our regular epee class.

We start beginners all year round. The only condition is that fencers contact us to arrange a start day. We give our full attention to new fencers (often with one-to-one instruction on your first visit) and this requires preparation.

Sneakers and gym clothes (preferably long sweatpants or running pants). SITS will provide equipment temporarily until fencers get settled and feel they will continue to fence.

Fencers are encouraged to attend more than once a week. To find a class time, visit our classes page.

Our approach to fencing is unique. Classes are run as group instruction, combining ages and skill levels through individual and paired drills. One exception is the Youth Fencing Program. This class is for younger fencers, age 9-11.

During regular classes, fencers are usually paired with fencers of similar size, and often with a more advanced fencer in order to help both learn the skill. Beginners benefit from the advanced student’s modeling and better control for safety. Advanced students will improve through the act of teaching and reviewing skills, focusing on fine details, drills which incorporate more complex strategy, and refining their techniques in bouting. Most advanced students progress through private lessons and attending open bouting frequently.

Yes! Statistically, fencing is one of the safest contact sports. Studies show fencing is safer than baseball, soccer, and football. However, make no mistake; fencing involves contact. Though gear is designed to protect from injury, bruises are common. One cannot fence without hitting or getting hit. That said, injuries requiring any medical attention are very rare.

Your trial class will cost nothing. If you choose to return for more classes, the costs differ based on type of class and payment schedule. Please contact us to discuss this in detail and to arrange a time to visit.

You learn more from losing than winning.

— Morgan Bayard Wootten

SITS is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.

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