Dark Horse Fencing Club (DHFC) was established in 1988 in the Fredericksburg area by a group of fencers who wanted to share their love of the sport. Since then, DHFC has grown to include a wide range of members; veterans and students, novices and ranked fencers, men and women, and young and old (but who are still young at heart). If you are curious about the sport or an experienced fencer, please, come join the fray!
Leadership and Coaches
Bruce Callandar – President/Coach
Bruce picked up fencing foil at Northern VA Community College under Dr. Hoffman. Later, he learned sabre from George Vaishvila (Arlington Group) and Epee by osmosis. He was formerly a of the Fred Appel Fencing Club and Old Town Fencing Gang (1975-80). He was a children’s foil instructor for Alexandria’s Parks and Rec (1980-1981), as well as at Dance Etc., Woodbridge (1981-1982). After moving to the area, Bruce taugh foil for Fredericksburg Parks and Rec. (1982-1984). He is a member of AFLA/USFA (1975 to present).
Bruce is one of the founding members of Dark Horse (1988). He was President of Dark Horse from 1988-2005 and was Club Treasurer 2005-2013. Currently he is the Club President (2013-present). He continues to teach foil and sabre at Dark Horse.
Larry Vivian – Treasurer
Larry is a fencing parent from 2005-present when John started to take lessons at the Park Recreation in Gwinnett County. He assisted the Club Treasurer 2011-2013 and is currently the Club Treasurer (2013 – present).
George learned epee at Santelli Fencing Academy (Tony Orsi), NJ. He was a member of the Varsity Fencing Team at Northern Valley Regional H.S., NJ. Later, he picked up sabre at Salle de Nord (Mel North), Denver CO. While at Virginia Tech, he was Club President (1972-74). He was an instructor at Laramie County Community College Fencing Club, WY (1976-79), as well as at University of North Dakota Fencing Club (1983-85). He is a former member of the Omaha Fencing Club, NE (1986-87). George was the Vice President of the Forged Excellence Fencing Club, Offutt Air Force Base, NE (1987-89).
George was Vice President of Dark Horse from 2003-05. He also served as Club President from 2005-09. Currently, George continues to provide fencing lessions in foil, epee, and sabre.
Breck O’Donnell – Coach
Breck began fencing in 2005 at Dark Horse, taking his first lessons from Coach Lydia Pappas, and has continued to fence competitively and recreationally in Virginia ever since continuing his training under several coaches. In Spring 2011, Breck earned his C rating in foil, and has renewed it each subsequent year. Also, he is a certified USFA referee. He now fences for Mechanicsville Fencing Alliance and the University of Mary Washington Fencing Club.
Breck loves the sport and is currently a foil coach at the Dark Horse, where he enjoys teaching fencing to beginners!
Lydia Pappas – Coach
Since first picking up a foil thirteen years ago, fencing has become an integral part of Coach Lydia’s life. Throughout her high school years she competed on both the state and national levels, earning several medals and a few championships on the way to a C rating. In college, Coach Lydia helped found the Drexel University Fencing Club in order to spread the love of fencing across campus. In 2008, Lydia was the Virginia Division Women’s Foil Champion. Since graduating last summer, she has begun coaching at Dark Horse Fencing Club.
John Vivian – Coach
John started fencing in Georgia in an old tortilla factory. John decided to continue fencing after he moved to Fredericksburg, VA. In Fall 2011, John earned his B rating in Foil.
He now fences for the Ohio State University and teaches during breaks at Dark Horse.