Our instructors


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

After a background in martial arts in Hong Kong and years spent playing around with foil in high school, John started fencing seriously while completing a PhD in structural biochemistry at the University of Sydney. He took up coaching in 2009. He tries to take a scientific approach to sabre training, and continues to compete here and there at World Cup level mainly to test how things work. This is fun for him.

In his day job, John is a former Director at the NSW Department of Justice, and is now engaged in private consulting work.

frances 2019

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

Not traditionally a sporty person, Frances got dragged into fencing by her husband while working on her PhD in molecular microbiology at the University of Sydney. She liked it, and things escalated rapidly. Although she’s competed in the past at national and World Cup level, she’s now focused on refereeing, and holds an Asian zone license. Frances also specialises in introducing complete beginners to the sport, with an eye to getting them playing the game and enjoying it as quickly as possible.

When not at the club or wrangling her two small children, Frances works on promoting sabre. She runs Sydney Sabre’s YouTube, social media and blog outlets, which have attracted an international following. If you get into a flamewar with Sydney Sabre online, you’re talking to her.

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.


Tom McGreevy is an instructor specialising in group training and special events.
He’s also the President of the local Aron Szilagyi fan club. We’re not sure why we ever let him in.

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.

Vincent Zheng started fencing when he was 7, and started coaching at Sydney Sabre in 2015. He enjoys blowing off steam by hitting larger opponents with ludicrous trick shots.

Nick Pastore is an instructor and member of our “away” team, competing at junior and senior World Cup level. He’s been fencing since the age of 12,  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.