Instrutors

Meastor Craig Smith (Michigan)

Born December 14th, 1959 in Kalamazoo MI, at Borgess Hospital.  Attended, and graduated from Portage Central High School in 1978 with High Honors.  Attended Western Michigan University where he started fencing with Mrs. Lamanski as the instructor.  Fencing then continued outside of college with competitions until opening a jewelry store in Battle Creek in 1989 when he retired from competition temporarily while joining Avante Garde Fencing Academy in Battle Creek.  Avante Garde lasted less than one year after which Tri-Blade Fencing was founded.

  • Founder Tri-Blade Fencing Academy
  • Knight of the Southern Cross
  • Knight of Malta
  • Knights Templar
  • Founder The New Order of Chivalric Knights
  • International Coaches Association
  • Received Designation “Maestro” from FIE, International Fencing Association
  • Received Master Instructor from Lakeview Public Schools
  • United States Fencing Association Designated Coach, Director, and Club Director

In January 2012 I along with 6 others members incorporated the parent organization New Order of Chivalric Knights (NOCK), and brought TriBlade Fencing Academy under the direction of a board.


Rob Leenhouts (Michigan)

Bio to come


Zeke Talmage (Michigan)

I joined Tri-Blade Fencing Academy when I was around 12 year of age, as a PE credit for my schooling. I quickly developed my fencing skills and began to assist Maestro Craig with teaching new fencing with the basic skills. I was give the opportunity to instruct the entire class when I was in my mid-teens.

Accomplishments:

  • Over 1500 hours of personal fencing
  • Over 700 hours of instructing
  • Competed in Foil and Epee
  • Instructed / Coached one member to Junior Olympics
  • Board Vice President – “New Order of Chivalric Knight” the parent organization of Tri-Blade Fencing Academy
  • Co-Developed inter-club Classic French Fencing Tournament, “Bring It On” & “Bring It On – Team Up”
  • Public School Program – development committee
  • Co-Instructor – Gull Lake Home School Partnership fencing class
  • Co-Instructor – Gull Lake High School fencing class (PE credit)

Kyle “Tank” Wilder (Michigan)

Fencing was something I always wanted to do, in the spring of 2007 my wife found Tri-Blade Fencing Academy. A class was offered during our lunch hour so we would meet there and fence together. We both learned Foil, Epee and Saber over the following year. Do to medical issue my wife stopped, while I continued on with fencing, I began to attend the Monday evening class.

By this time I was assisting Maestro with new people, instructing them with all the basics. As my skills grow also did my responsibilities with in the club. The entire club was entrusted to me, along with another while maestro was out of the state for a month.

Accomplishments:

  • Over 900 hours of personal fencing
  • Over 300 hours of instructing
  • Board Treasurer – “New Order of Chivalric Knight” the parent organization of Tri-Blade Fencing Academy
  • Co-Developed inter-club Classic French Fencing Tournament, “Bring It On” & “Bring It On – Team Up”
  • Public School Program – development committee
  • Co-Instructor – Gull Lake Home School Partnership fencing class
  • Co-Instructor – Gull Lake High School fencing class (PE credit)

Grant Shymske (North Carolina)

Initially joining Tri-Blade Fencing Academy in 1998 I studied under Maestro Smith until 2005. During that time I became proficient in fencing and instructing each of the three weapons as well as competing in the Michigan division of the USFA. In late 2005 I enlisted in the United States Army and began a career as an infantryman that would last until 2012. During that time however I was able to establish myself as a Tri-Blade fencing instructor and begin teaching at both the Battle Creek and Western Michigan University locations.

I am currently located in sunny Spring Lake North Carolina just outside of Fort Bragg, I am happily married and pursuing my PhD in Philosophy of Science. In the copious spare time that a student possesses I have been lucky enough to establish Tri-Blade NC in Spring Lake and hopefully Fort Bragg shortly. I am also working on a number of projects for Tri-Blade’s R&D; such as developing a definitive rulebook for classical fencing, building a certification program for directing classical fencing, and a supplemental guidebook for improving personal health and fitness to better one’s fencing potential.

When I am not neck deep in research and writing I prefer the outdoors and the gym. Nature and physical fitness are two important areas of my life that are perfectly shared by my wife which means that most of our time together is spent in a combination of the two. When I am not out trying to push my limitations, I am usually thinking up ways to make Tri-Blade students push theirs.


If you are not sure about fencing at all about, the best way to get started is to come on down to a group practice and see what fencing is all about. Typically there will be members of various levels of experience practicing. Craig are also available for demonstrations. If your club or group (i.e. school, scouts, youth groups, parent groups) is interested in a fencing demonstration, contact Craig at the club.

The Tri-Blade Fencing Academy holds Beginner’s classes for anyone who is age 8 or over, you are never too old to start, many of Tri Blade members started or came back to fencing in their 30’s, 40’s and older. Fencing is truly a life long sport!

Topics covered in beginner classes include.

  1. Types of Weapons
  2. Safety & Etiquette
  3. Footwork
  4. Bladework
  5. Offensive and Defensive Techniques
  6. Basic Strategy

The necessary protective equipment and weapons are provided to members of beginner classes. As you progress and identify your own preferences, assistance will be provided with selection equipment.

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