Our instructors

John Chow is the Chief Instructor of Sydney Sabre, and one of our founders.

He started fencing seriously while completing a PhD in structural biochemistry at the University of Sydney, and took up coaching in 2009. He tries to take a scientific approach to sabre training, and continues to compete at World Cup level, mainly to test how things work.

In his day job, John is an executive at a large state government agency, specialising in implementation of new IT systems.

Frances Chow is the head of referee training at Sydney Sabre, and one of our founders.

Much like her husband, Frances started fencing while working on her PhD in molecular microbiology at the University of Sydney. Although she’s competed at national and World Cup level, she’s now focused on refereeing, and holds an international license.

When not at the club or wrangling her two small children, Frances works on promoting sabre, running Sydney Sabre’s YouTube, social media and blog outlets, which have attracted an international following.

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Yoon-gi Shim is a former professional fencer and alumnus of the legendary sabre program at Dong-Eui University in Busan, Korea.

Yoon-gi came to Sydney for a year-long visit in 2018 to do a bit of coaching and learn English, but liked teaching and fencing at the club so much he decided to extend his stay. He’s a specialist in technical sabre training for junior high-performance athletes, but enjoys working with a wide range of students, and playing the sport for fun.

Hayel Albassit is an instructor, centre manager and head of armoury operations. He started training with us in 2012, and quickly moved in to both teaching and equipment management.  If something breaks, he’s the guy to talk to.

When Hayel isn’t at the club, he’s either selling motorcycles or hitting hot pieces of metal with big hammers.

Davide Wheeler is an instructor, centre manager, and head of our external competitive program. A lifelong competitor in various sports, Davide is the reigning Commonwealth Veteran men’s sabre champion and can regularly be found on podiums around Australia and Asia.

He’s also national manager for IT at a major healthcare company, and gets up far too early in the morning to teach aerobics classes.

Vincent Zheng started fencing when he was 7, and started coaching at Sydney Sabre in 2015. He’s about to start his HSC year, but is still a member of our competitive “away” team and enjoys blowing off steam by hitting larger opponents with ludicrous trick shots.

Nick Pastore is an instructor and member of our competitive “away” team, competing at junior and senior World Cup level. He’s been fencing since the age of 12, and watches far too much sabre on YouTube and knows the statistics for every professional sabre match that’s ever happened.

Ethan Pastore (left) is also an instructor and member of our “A” team. Along with his twin brother Nick, he can be found frequently on podiums around Australia and Asia, and is a bit of a biomechanics nerd.

Alex Yee is an instructor, and member of our Masters/Veterans away team. He’s our resident expert in using dirty bladework to mess up fast young hot-shots. After a long and complex career involving cable TV stations around Asia, Alex is now semi retired.

Phil Miller (pictured here completing yet another clean sweep of a sabre tournament with his wife Priscilla del Castillo) is an instructor and former competitive sabre fencer on the US Open circuit. His style best described as “like a linebacker with a sword”. He’s been coaching since college, while also doing complicated things involving x-ray diffraction instruments and large mines.