Head coach Taro Yamashita started fencing in college, where he fenced both foil and epee, and helped his team win the New England Intercollegiate Fencing Conference Championship all four years. Concentrating on epee after college, he was ranked as high as #34 in the USA and #302 in the world.
Taro has coached US Veteran National champions and Veteran World Team members in all three weapons.
Taro coached for many years at the college level, including at Brandeis University, MIT, and the University of Massachusetts (Amherst). His teams have earned national club championship and conference titles, and individuals have earned national and conference honors.
Taro is a recognized Prevot d'Epee et Fleuret (Provost of Epee and Foil) from the US Fencing Coaches Association (level 4 in the new US National Coach Development Program).
Assistant coach Lisa Wolf, PhD teaches the introductory courses for students new to fencing. Lisa has been fencing at Riverside since 2009, and actively competes.
As of January 2024, Lisa is ranked #6 in the USA in the Women's Epee Veteran (40+) age category, and #12 in the Veteran 50-59 age category.
Lisa was a member of the 2019 USA Fencing Veteran World Championship team that competed in Cairo, Egypt in Oct 2019, and was ranked #44 in the World that season.
She is also a nurse, the Director of Research for the Emergency Nursing Association, and a professor at the Elaine Marieb College of Nursing (UMass, Amherst).
(That's Lisa on the right in the site's banner photo, in action in Cairo.)
We are located at 162 Russell Street (MA Rt. 9), Hadley, MA in the American Legion Hall building, 2.4 miles east of the Calvin Coolidge Memorial bridge (connecting Northampton and Hadley).
Please direct postal correspondence to Riverside Fencing Club, 110 Middle Street, Hadley, MA 01035.
Founded in 2000 by Scott Tundermann as the Northampton Fencing Center, we operated in Northampton, and then South Hadley, and then Easthampton through 2006. Under Scott's leadership, the club's primary goals were to provide an outlet for primarily recreational fencing in all three weapons (foil, epee, and sabre) in the Pioneer Valley.
The club changed hands to Chris Spencer with a move back to South Hadley in 2006, and changed its name to Riverside Fencing Club. It moved to its current Hadley location in 2007. Under Chris's leadership, the focus of the club shifted to include more youth and competitive programming, still in all three weapons.
In 2008, Taro Yamashita became the head coach at Riverside, and took over as owner in 2009. Currently, Riverside strives to develop competitive fencers without losing touch with the fact that fencing is (and should be) fun. Under Taro's leadership, the club's focus has expanded to include veteran age (40+ years) athletes, but has narrowed to primarily epee instruction.
Scott, Chris, and Taro are good friends, and still share coaching ideas whenever they get together. All three are products of intercollegiate fencing, and have remained active in collegiate fencing after their competitive years.
Riverside currently offers instruction in epee for fencers ages 10 to adult, from beginners to national champions.
Notable achievements by Riverside Fencers (we include this list to demonstrate that our philosophy of having fun (see above) does not preclude us from also achieving amazing results):
2019: Lisa WOLF: V50 Women's Epee National Championship Bronze medalist and World Team member
2019: Julian TYSON: V70 Men's Epee National Champion and World Team member
2010: Julian TYSON: V60 Men's Epee National Champion and World Team member
2009: Dianna MCMENAMIN: V50 Women's Epee National Champion and World Team member