Club History and Phillosophy

Our History

Windy City Fencing was founded in 2002 by three U.S. Modern Pentathletes, Josh Holmstrom, Barry Matchett, and Jeff Ulmer, each with extensive fencing experience and committed to introducing fencing to youth in Chicago, where fencing was relatively unknown.


Josh, Barry, and Jeff dedicated their free time to building and expanding Windy City Fencing, coaching all of the classes, and growing the program to the point where fencers were competing in regional and national tournaments. In 2004, they hired Bulgarian Olympian (Sydney 2000) Tsanko Hantov as a full-time coach.


In 2007, Tsanko Hantov became the Coach/Owner of Windy City Fencing – Chicago, Inc. Together with the rest of the Windy City Fencing coaches, they lead the premiere competitive and recreational Epee fencing program in Chicago.


In the last decade, coach Hantov’s students were winning medals on a regular bases at all National and International level events, including NACs / North American Cups/,SYCs /Super Youth/,and Cadets International events .


Many of Windy City Fencing’s students have been recruited by NCAA colleges and have received athletic scholarships.


  • To introduce the sport of fencing in Chicago to a wider audience.
  • To use fencing to teach respect, self-control, good sportsmanship, and teamwork.
  • To allow youth fencers to participate, progress, and compete at their pace, with the strongest coaching support possible.
    To develop nationally competitive epee fencers.


Windy City fencers learn:

  1. Respect for Opponents: Every fencing bout begins and ends with the fencers saluting one another, the director, and the spectators. Winning and losing gracefully are expected, and Windy City fencers learn honesty in fencing bouts without referees.
  2. Good Sportsmanship. The rules of fencing demand good sportsmanship, and it is expected at Windy City at all times.
  3. Teamwork. Fencers stand on the strip, one-on-one. But Windy City Fencers are never alone. Windy City is truly a Club, with fencers of all ages supporting one another and cheering one another at practice and at tournaments. Older fencers take seriously their obligation to be good role models and to help coach the younger fencers, at practice and at tournaments, sharing their knowledge of the sport.

The Windy City Fencing Clubhouse

The Windy City Fencing Club House is at the Menomonee Club’s Drucker Center, conveniently located in the heart of Chicago, at 1535 N. Dayton Ave., one block from the North & Clybourn Red Line station.


WCF has six regulation fencing strips with electric scoring boxes, weight training and cardio equipment, team equipment lockers, and all necessary fencing equipment for beginners.


Menomonee Club, a not-for-profit organization, has been providing supervised team sports and recreational and social activities for boys and girls on the North Side of Chicago since 1946. In recent years Menomonee has expanded to provide select recreational programs for adults.