Modern Fencing is a sport derived out of classic, historical fencing and dueling. Fencing is divided into three weapons: Foil, Epee, and Sabre. Foil was derived from the classical training weapon (thrusting only). It only place where a touch is allowed is on the torso. Only a single person can score a touch at one time. The rules that the referee uses to decide who gets the touch are the rules of "Right of Way." Epee, was derived from the classical dueling sword. The target area is the entire body and both participants may score touches simultaneously. The Epee is another thrusting weapon. Sabre was derived from the classic calvary weapon. Here, the touches are scored by cutting along the side of the blade. The target area is above the waist. As in foil, the rules of "Right of Way" are in effect.

SMF Philosphy

The Smoky Mountain Philosphy of teaching arises from a respect of the sport and a clear understanding of its technical aspects and rules. We strongly believe that anyone can become a good fencer if he or she puts the time into practicing and working with the coaches. SMF is a competitive club. This means that we encourage and expect our students and members to compete at tournaments on the local and national level. While, we do expect everyone to become competitive, the coaches also like to foster a community of friendship, respect, and fun within the classes.

The classes will be taught cooperatively by all three coaches. We are currently teaching Foil (Coaches Mertz and Jones) and Epee (Coaches Morgan, Mertz, and Jones). With additional interest, Coach Morgan will teach Sabre.

Since the basic footwork for all of the weapons is the same, the first half of the classes are weapon independant. After footwork is completed, students will be separated by their weapons and skill level, if possible. For this reason, we may ask advanced fencers to help train beginner fencers. Teaching younger students gives the athlete a unique perspective that allows them to practice and think critically about their fencing.

The Littell School of Fencing

Smoky Mountain Fencing will be modeling the classes and curriculum of the styles and teaching of Coach David Littell. Coach Littel was a three time all-american collegiate fencer for the University of Illinois. He was a member of the 1988 U.S. Olympic Fencing Team (Foil). Most recently, Coach Littell coached at Haverford College in Haverford, PA. He has traveled all over the country sharing his coaching techniques with other fencing clubs.

The techniques Coach Littell teaches are unique. They combine elements from the Hungarian school of fencing with famous coaches such as Yyves Auriel and Bucky Leach. Additionally, Coach Littell uses "Alexander Technique" to teach fencers how to move their bodies correctly to prevent injuries and promote strong technical fencing. Coach Mertz has studied under Coach Littell and is bringing the techniques, knowledge, and skill set to the Tennessee area.

You may view Coach Littell's videos on fencing online for free on YouTube: Fencing with David Littell

We suggest you start at Lesson 1.

You may read more about Coach Littell by visiting his website.


Smoky Mountain Fencing currently offers two classes: Beginner and Intermediate. We plan to hold more advanced classes as the students work through our curriculum and accomplish their goals.

Beginner Classes

Beginner classes are truly tailored to new fencers who are in the 8-14 age group and have never before fenced. Here, they will work with Coach Miranda Jones on basic knowledge of fencing.

The students will be provided all safety gear and will begin to learn foil, the classic training weapon for the sport. After the students have passed these sessions, they will move into the intermediate course.

Intermediate Classes

Intermediate classes are tailored to beginning fencers who are older (>14 years old) or have a working knowledge of the sport. Here, the fencers are allowed to choose which weapon with which they will fence. All fencers practice the basic footwork skills, and then begin to learn tactical skills. Fencers who bring electric equipment are welcome to fence at the end of each class to practice the lesson of the day.


Membership costs $100 per month. All classes and necessary safety gear are included in the cost of the membership. Fencing is a specialized sport which should not be undertaken without parental supervision. We require all students and coaches to wear safety gear (masks, gloves, jackets) before fencing.