Coaching background

Fencing Career: Vik started fencing in 1968 at the University of Canterbury Fencing Club when the university was based in the present-day Arts Centre on Worcester Street. The club met in the gym in what is now, the defunct, Academy Picture Theatre.

A former journalist and Picture Editor at The Press he still finds time to compete in veterans sabre from time to time and fences foil and epee at club level. He won a gold medal at the 2003 Commonwelath Veterans Championships in the Men's sabre teams event and was New Zealand Vets foil champion. He was the oldest competitor in the 2006 National Fencing Championships in Dunedin and the 2012 Nationals in Christchurch.

Coaching: A lawyer and a scientist, Benoit Upton and Paul Wilson, got him serious about coaching by inviting him to coach at the University of Canterbury Fencing Club in the mid-1980s. He still coaches there and at three schools and two clubs in Christchurch including the Sabre Club founded in 2008.

Dismayed by his lack of overall fencing knowledge he embarked upon a journey to improve his fencing and coaching skills, but it was not until the late 1980s that he got serious about it, when Kiwi fencing Olympian Martin Brill (who was training and studying in France) brought a French coach Huges LeSuer to New Zealand to run a coaching course in Wellington. Then came the arrival of Gianfranco Mochi to Christchurch and the former World Junior Champion and member of the Italian Epee team, who now competes in Veterans events, encouraged him to travel to Italy and Spain to broaden his coaching experience. Since then he has learned, by observation, participation or otherwise, from people such as:

Foil: Prof Fethers (Australia), Yves Auriol (United States), Huges LeSuer (France), Aleksander Romankof (Russia), Maurizio Galvan (Italy) and loan Pop (Technical Director of the FIE) and Al Wardle (Australia).

Epee: Professor Ted Nye, Keith Mann and Martin Brill (all New Zealand), Guido Mazari, Gianfranco Mochi, Gianni Muzio and Oleg Putzanov (all Italy) and Vladimir Sher (Oceania Fencing Masters Association).

Sabre: Dr Francis Zold (USA) Keith Mann, Sandor Tabor (Spain) and loan Pop.


  • Vik has attended three International Olympic Committee Solidarity courses to improve refereeing and coaching skills in the three weapons and was a international FIE referee.
  • His pupils have won hundreds of local, Provincial, Island, National, International and Junior Olympic titles and medals in all three weapons; foil, epee and sabre.
  • Coach of the first man, Rangi de Abaffy, to win our individual National Epee Championships four years in succession!
  • Coach and/or referee with five New Zealand teams overseas, Cape Town World Champs, Two Thai Opens and the 98 and 02 Commonwealth Fencing Champs.
  • Individual coach to fencers competing at National, Australian, Commonwealth, Asian, World Cup and World Championships.
  • He was coach of the first person, Clare de Abaffy, to win the womens' individual epee events at our National Secondary Schools, National Under 20s and Senior Nationals competitions in the same year.
  • Coach of the youngest winner of a senior womens national championship - Hannah Ramsay 2010 womens sabre champion at 14-years and three months.
  • Coach of the youngest senior mens champion, Alex Chan 2007 individual mens sabre champion at 14-years and five-months who successfully defended his title at the 2008 Nationals and was second in 2009, third in 2010 and second in 2014.
  • But most of all he has learnt and still learns, as much from his pupils, as they have from him, and from the world-wide camaraderie of fencing and fencers.
  • Thanks especially (in no particular order) to; Olga Jeykll, Zoltan Apathy, Bob Binning, Gerda and Bruce McGechan, Jim Fazekas, Jenny Cassidy, Susan Grant-Taylor, Diane Swain, Angel Vassallo, Geof Low, Sandro Cuomo, Alfredo Rota, Kate Brill, Steve Clarke, Barry More, Dr Ezekiel Rodriguez-Rey, Alvaro Calderon, Chaba Pallaghy, Renzie Hanham, Tadashi Nakamura, Al Wardle, Professor Bob Crowder, Ants Parder, Luis Jiminez, John Bain, Alistair McBride, Rangi de Abaffy, Richard Petersen, Jeff Grey, Alan Parris, John Bain, Gordon Parry, Pop Streeter, Noel Hamilton, Peter Osvath, Steve Tillman, John Humphreys, Graeme Harris, Bob Miller, Diane Foote and Neville Landrebe, Peter Kell, Bill Ronald, Pam French, Dave Eccleston and many others who I will attempt to add as time goes on.