About DESF

About DESF

The Down East School of Fencing was founded in 1995. More information coming soon....


John KraussJohn William Krauss, Maitre d'escrime (Foil and Epee), Prevot d'Armes, DESF Founder and Head Coach

John Krauss is founder and head coach of the Down East School of Fencing in Maine. Mr. Krauss is certified by the United States Fencing Association and the United States Fencing Coaches Association, organizations that govern US fencing instruction and competition. First trained at the Bucks County Academy of Fencing in New Hope, PA, under Maestro Mark Holbrow, Mr. Krauss has acquired twenty-five years of experience as a veteran national competitor and seventeen years as an instructor/coach in fencing. In 1982, Mr. Krauss earned a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Muskingum College and has completed postgraduate coursework at the University of Maine, Orono in sports psychology. He has a strong educational and training background. His students have included Junior Olympians, Divisional, Sectional and National finalists. Previous to founding DESF, Mr. Krauss devoted over ten years as a professional in the human services field and was certified as a social worker for the State of New Jersey.

As a member of the Northeast Division USFA, he has served in many officer roles on the executive committee, and has been tri-director of the North Country Fencing Camp with Coach Viveka Fox (Vermont Fencing Alliance) and Coach Tracy Nabstedt (Concord Fencing Club). Mr. Krauss is also a member and contributing writer of articles to The Swordmaster, the publication for the United States Fencing Coaches Association (USFCA), and is currently the director of the USFCA Annual National Coaches Conference.

Mr. Krauss is an active competitor and has earned medals in over 150 tournaments since 1984. In 2000, Mr. Krauss was the Senior Division Foil Champion and Division II Foil Champion of the Northeast Division USFA. In 2001, Mr. Krauss was 8th in the Summer National Veteran Combined Men's Foil Championships, Sacramento, CA. In 2002, he placed 9th in NAC Veteran's Men's Foil in Reno, NV; 3rd at the Summer National Veteran 40 Men's Foil Championships, Greenville, SC; and 6th at the recent NAC Veteran's Men's Foil in Columbus, OH. Mr. Krauss currently is on the USFA National Point Standing in the 40-50 Men's Foil category.  He believes that fencing as a sport is a creative, clever, and tactical game which allows fencers to express their personalities. To be successful, a fencer must be fit, have excellent technique, strong tactics and most importantly... be sensible and smart!

Thomas Bowcock, Moniteur/Epee and Assistant Coach

Coach Bowcock has been an instructor with the Down East School of Fencing since 2004. Prior to his current position, he was the Assistant Women's Coach (foil, epee, sabre) at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth from 1976-1978. He went on to coach at the Plymouth Fencing Club the following year. With over 35 years of fencing experience, Mr. Bowcock primarily coaches epee for DESF. He has also been an FOC-certified referee, notably directing at the 1979-1980 New England Intercollegiate Fencing Championships. Mr. Bowcock earned his certification as Moniteur in Epee through the United States Fencing Coaches Association in 2010.



Stephen LaForge, Assistant Coach and official club Sage

A graduate of St. John's University in Queens, New York, Mr. LaForge was a national-level epee fencer and foilist. In recent years he has continued to challenge himself, competing frequently in Veteran Men's Sabre. In 2008, Mr. Laforge was a finalist in the NAC Veteran 60 Men's Saber in Colorado Springs, CO.





 Eric Ritter, Assistant Coach

Mr. Ritter began fencing in 2000 when he attended an adult education class in Monmouth, Maine at the ripe old age of 35. The bug bit and he has actively competed ever since, with six national-level North America Cup tournaments under his belt and counting. Also a foilist, Mr. Ritter's first love is the epee and he principally teaches and strip coaches the teen and youth epeeists. He has been the Maine Representative to the Northeast Division Executive Committee, and is currently studying for his USFCA Moniteur certification in Epee.


Also: Adult Fencer Assistants and Group Leaders - Lindy Davies, Mark Wanner, Peter Triandafillou.

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