Our instructors

John Bradstock Chow is the chief instructor and one of our founders.

After a misspent youth doing martial arts in Hong Kong and a few more years spent playing around with (foil) fencing in high school, John started sabre seriously while completing a PhD in structural biochemistry at the University of Sydney. He started coaching in 2009. He tries to take an old-school scientific approach to sabre training, and thus still competes — up to World Cup level — to test his theories on himself. This is fun for him.

In his day job, John is a fallen government executive, recovering management consultant, and lapsed scientist/engineer. He now moonlights as a mercenary on interesting ad-hoc assignments in semi-retirement.

Frances Bradstock Chow is the boss referee and one of our founders.

Not traditionally a sporty person, Frances got dragged into fencing by her husband John 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 now works as a referee and holds an FIE-B (read: international professional) license. Frances’ focus at the club is to introduce complete beginners to the sport, so that they can play the game and enjoy 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 the centre boss, chief armourer, and reserve instructor.

He started training with us in 2012, beat people up for a while, then quickly moved onto teaching, equipment management, hitting things with big hammers, and hitting big things with hammers.  If something breaks, talk to him: either because he did it, or he can fix it.

When Hayel isn’t at the club, he’s either selling motorcycles or their parts, lifting heavy things and putting them down again, hitting hot pieces of metal, or working on some project with a new power tool.

Sam Sieber is the centre administrator and armourer.

She started off as an apprentice at Sydney Sabre, and at various points has gone through all the life-cycle stages of a fencer: athlete, referee, coach, club boss, armourer, etc. Now she fixes things: equipment, clothing, our online store, the centre management system, even the various accounting confusions from people wanting to do interesting things with their session passes. If something breaks, talk to Sam — she probably won’t eat you.

In her other life, Sam is an engineering wood witch who spends her work-hours tinkering with inanimate machines and her off-hours in her garden.