Our coaches and instructors bring a wealth of intenational and domestic experience to our Academy, allowing our students to learn from consumate professionals with many decades of practical and proven success.


Yu Bao (Yobo) Hu - Senior Foil Coach

  • Provincial Head Coach (Foil)  Guangdong, China  1984-1992
  • Professional Fencing Athlete (Foil)  Guangdong, China  1975-1987
  • Bronze Medal (Personal)  1981 National Championships  Beijing, China
  • Silver Medal (Personal)  1980 National Youth Championships  Shanghai, China
  • Silver Medal (Personal)  1979 National Youth Championships  Hebei, China
  • Silver Medal (Team)  1978 National Championships  Shanghai, China
  • Bronze Medal (Personal)  1978 National Championships  Shanghai, China
  • Gold Medal (Team)  1978 Asia Games  Bangkok, Thailand

Yu Bao began her fencing career, receiving professional training starting in 1975. Her talent was soon self evident as she won numerous medals in national championships. Her greatest achievement was winning the gold medal (team) in Bangkok, Thailand at the 1978 Asia Games with her friend Ju Jie Luan. She also competed in many international championships during her athletic career.

In 1984, Yu Bao became the provincial head coach (foil) in Guangdong, China. She brought great success to the Guangdong fencing team as her students won medals in national championships. One of her top students, Jian Hong Li, won the gold medal (team) in the Asia championships. She is currently senior foil coach at TFA, training students and working with the coaching staff to direct foil training programs.



Jian Zhong (Ken) Liao - Sabre Coach

  • Sabre Coach  Guangdong, China  1982-1993
  • Professional Fencing Athlete (Sabre)  Guangdong, China  1974-1982
  • Silver Medal (Team)  1981 National Championships  Guangdong, China
  • Gold Medal (Team)  1980 National Championships  Shanghai, China
  • Gold Medal (Team)  1979 National Games  Beijing, China
  • Gold Medal (Team)  1978 National Championships  Shanghai, China
  • Silver Medal (Team)  1977 National Championships  Liaoning, China
  • Silver Medal (Team)  1975 National Games  Beijing, China

Jian Zhong began his sabre fencing career in 1974, receiving professional training in Guangdong, China. Soon after he joined the provincial team, he won gold and silver medals in the national games and national championships.

Jian Zhong started his sabre coaching career in 1982, after being strongly recommended by the fencing society. He is currently sabre coach at TFA, training students and working with the coaching staff to direct sabre training programs.


Israel Cando - Sabre Coach, Founder, Technical Manager

  • Sabre Coach, Tri-City Fencing Academy, 2008 - Present
  • Assistant Coach (Sabre), Ateneo de Manila University
  • FIE International Referee, B-Rated, 1997-98, 1998-99
  • 4 times Member Philippine National Team
  • Gold Medal (Team), 1992 SEA Fencing Championships  Manila, Philippines
  • Silver Medal (Team), 1991 SEA Games  Manila, Philippines
  • B.Ed Human Kinetics & Physical Education  New Era University, Quezon City, Philippines

Israel has over two decades of practical experience in fencing, earning a spot on the Philippine national team for four straight seasons.  During that time he won medals in regional and international meets, including the South-East Asian Games and the South-East Asian Fencing Championships.

Israel was one of the first Filipino fencers to receive training as an athlete and a coach at China's National Training Centre in the Laoshan District of Beijing.  Mentored by then China's Head Sabre Coach, Shen Chang Jie, he became an assistant coach at Ateneo de Manila University.  Israel earned an FIE referee rating from FIE officials Max Gueter of Germany and the late Carl Schwende of Canada.

Israel holds a university degree in Broadcast Communication and was an undergraduate in Human Kinetics and Physical Education.

As sabre coach for TFA, Israel has built a sabre youth program that has seen success at both local and national levels.  As technical manager for TFA, Israel works with all coaches and instructors to set training policies and ensure that levels of performance are achieved.

Mark Atienza – Foil Coach

  • Philippine Fencing Association, Class B Trainor, 2005
  • International Olympic Committee, Olympic Solidarity Technical Coaching, 2011
  • Fencing Coach, Far Eastern University, 2007-2015
  • Fencing Coach, FEU Fern High School, 2012-2015
  • Fencing Instructor, British School Manila, 2008-2010
  • Fencing Instructor, Lipa Academy for Math and Science, 2014-2017
  • Training Camp, Tianjin, China, 2005 and 2007
  • Gold Medal (Team), South East Asian Games 2005, Manila
  • Silver Medal (Team), South East Asian Games 2007, Thailand
  • South East Asian Games 2011, Indonesia
  • Asian Fencing Championship 2007, Nantong, China
  • Asian Fencing Championship 2010, Seoul, Korea
  • Silver Medal (Men’s & Team), University Athletic Association of the Philippines, 2002-2004

Mark started his fencing career in 1997, with a dream to become a champion on the Philippines National Team.  Mark committed all his time to this goal training three times a day, every day, for three years to win a position on the junior national team.  This was only Mark’s first milestone in a series of fencing related life goals.  He made senior national team the following year and dedicated himself full time to competing, winning medals both domestically and internationally. Mark made the difficult decision to retire from active competition in 2012, setting a new focus in his life to become a successful fencing coach.  Mark has stayed current and active in the international fencing community to ensure that his students learn the most modern and effective fencing techniques and strategies.

Mark has a BA in Secondary Education, majoring in Sport and Recreation Management from the Far Eastern University in the Philippines.

As a foil coach for TFA, Mark trains L2 and L3 students and works with the coaching staff and technical manager to improve foil training programs.


David Shorey - Epee Coach
  • Five time National Medalist
  • National bronze medalist in the University division
  • Top 64 at the 2013 World University Games, Kazan, Russia

David started fencing at the age of 12, inspired by a fencing competition in an old science fiction novel.  He began his training in foil, but switched to epee three years later.  Within a year of switching weapons, he won his first national medal, winning gold in the cadet men's epee division.  Since then he has represented Canada at Junior World Cups in Italy and Sweden, as well as the World University Games in Russia, and the Vancouver Men's Epee Grand Prix.

David is attending Simon Fraser University pursuing an undergraduate degree in Physics and Certiciation as a teacher.

In 2009, David began coaching under the guidance of the national team coach, running classes and summer camps.  David is USFCA certified as a fencing coach (Prévôt d’épée).

As an epee coach for TFA, David trains L2 and L3 students and works with the coaching staff and technical manager to improve epee training programs.



Brad Kelly - Instructor, Founder, General Manager

Brad started fencing in 1985 at Simon Fraser University and quickly gained a love for the elegance, complexity and enduring nature of the sport. Throughout finishing his honours degree in Engineering, and then working for and founding companies in the high-tech industry, Brad has competed for, taught adults and children at, and managed many different fencing clubs.

In 2007, with Israel Cando, Brad founded the Tri-City Fencing Academy. The vision of the Academy was, and still is, to promote the sport of fencing and to build sport community within BC and Canada. From its humble beginnings as a volunteer activity at local schools, TFA now produces internationally successful competitive athletes and provides youth training at Recreation Complexes throughout the Lower Mainland.

Aside from managing TFA's business interests, Brad continues to take an active role in sports instruction, working with younger students and learning from the Academy's coaching staff.



Chris Blizzard - Program Instructor

  • McMaster University Varsity Foil Team Member, 1986-88, 1989-1992
  • McMaster University Varsity Foil Team Captain, 1989-1992
  • Competitive highlight: Ontario University Athletics (OUA) Men’s Overall Fencing Championship (team) – alas, the only time McMaster has won in the 80-year history of the Charles Walter Trophy.


Chris started fencing at the age of 12 in McMaster University's Sport Fitness School.  Later as an undergraduate student, Chris earned a spot on the university’s varsity fencing team and competed on the OUA circuit for five years, three as foil team Captain.  He reveled in the rivalries and camaraderie of the OUA circuit, and enjoyed having McMaster pay all his fencing expenses.   


While at McMaster University, Chris earned NCCP Level 1 certification as a fencing instructor and coached at their Sport Fitness School.


Following his competitive collegiate career, Chris has remained actively involved in the sport, fencing and competing in Canada, France, Japan and Scotland.  For Chris, fencing’s allure lies in the dualities of duelling: strength/strategy, tradition/technology, combat/civility, fitness/focus, intuition/instruction, and reflexes/reflection.


Chris is currently teaching Late French Immersion at Banting Middle School in School District #43.  At TFA, he is a foil instructor for Beginner, Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3 students.



Iavor Ivanov - Program Instructor

Iavor began his fencing career in TFA's first Middle School programs during 2007.  He developed an immediate passion for the sport and initially trained in all three weapons, finally deciding upon and excelling at epee.  He has competed locally, regionally, nationally and in the US for TFA in both individual and teams events.

Currently attending Simon Fraser University's Computing Science program, working as a teaching assistant, and part-time in industry as a Java/Web developer, Iavor still finds time to teach TFA's Level 2 epee classes.  He has a winning personality and is outgoing and humorous, which injects a degree of fun into his classes and helps to put students at ease.

Iavor is greatly valued as a member of TFA's staff and as a senior fencer, who is always eager and willing to work with and learn from the Academy's coaching staff.



Eleanor Maplethorp - Program Instructor

Elli got her first taste for fencing in high school when she joined Meadowridge School's fencing club in 2010.  She quickly fell in love with the sport and wanting to train as much as possible, joined TFA as well. Though she has tried all three weapons, she has focused mainly on foil and has competed in that weapon locally and provincially.

Elli began her teaching career a few years after discovering the sport, helping out with the Beginner and L1 classes and has since taught Beginner, L1, L2 and L3 foil classes. She is currently the main Program Instructor for the Killarney Community Centre branch of TFA. 

Elli still finds time to teach her fencers, while attending UBC and working towards a challenging undergraduate degree in Applied Animal Biology. 


Isaac Jacobsen - Program Instructor

After trying numerous sports prior, Isaac decided to start fencing in 2009 at the age of 13. He quickly discovered foil fencing to be exactly what he was looking for.  The amount of coordination, strategy, physical, and mental fitness required to fence at a competitive level was overwhelmingly compelling. 


Isaac began coaching foil in 2016 and continues to do so part time.  He enjoys helping kids develop and hone their skills as fencers.


While coaching, he is also balancing his time between other ambitions such as studying at BCIT for electrical engineering.  He is currently still training and competing in foil fencing, managing to pick up the silver medal in the 2016 BC junior championships. 


Emily Muma - Program Instructor

Emily started fencing with TFA in 2012 and immediately fell in love with the sport.  She initially trained and competed in Foil, but switched to Epee in 2016.  She continues to train and excel in this weapon. Emily was the top Canadian in Cadet Women's Epee at the 2017 BC Provincial Championships.

She began her coaching training with TFA in 2014.  In January, 2015 she started coaching L2 Foil.  She now teaches Beginner, L1, L2 and the occasional L3 class.  Emily enjoys working with the variety of students in these classes.  She challenges and encourages their skill development and enjoyment of the sport, and takes joy in the successes of her students.

Emily is in high school and plans to go on to receive an undergraduate degree in Science.  She is currently interested in pursuing a career in Genetic Counselling.



Ron Gootman - Program Instructor

Ron started fencing in middle school when he found beginner classes offered at Kyle Centre, and quickly grew to love the sport.  As a member of TFA, he competed for several years in foil before switching to epee after finding surprising success in tournaments with the weapon.  Soon after switching weapons, Ron ended up medaling in provincials that year.  Throughout high school, Ron continued to train and compete in local, national and international events.

With the start of university and a part-time job, Ron could not find the time to train competitively and instead began coaching to remain an active member of the fencing community.  Ron enjoys guiding young fencers to success, and most importantly fun.  At TFA Ron teaches Level 2 epee classes.

Ron is finishing his Bachelor's degree in Sociology and Anthropology at Simon Fraser University.


Autumn-03.jpg Autumn Caldwell-Ivancic - Program Instructor
Sophie-01.jpg Sophie McCann - Program Instructor
Bryce-02.jpg Bryce Davis - Program Instructor
Josh-02.jpg Joshua Lee - Program Instructor



Assistant Instructors

Kiara and Ben are senior fencers at TFA, having learned their skills from our trainingprograms and through close interaction with our Coaches.

They assist our Coaches and Program Instructors with Beginner, Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3 programs.