“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 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.
Outside of fencing, Jay loves to explore music. Throughout the year, he performs at venues all over SF Bay Area, small and large. He even played on stage of the Davies Symphony Hall recently! Several of our fencers are also musicians, and from time to time we love to get together spontaneously for jam sessions!
Coach Chris Atwood
Chris started fencing in 2003 as a High School 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. Immediately 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, Chris is a student of human mechanics, and studying the nervous system in its relationship to movement, pain management and athletic performance. He has a Master Trainer certificate in Movement Re-education and Pain Therapy, focusing on retraining movement patterns to maximize efficiency and eliminate pain. Chris has helped our athletes 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.