A History of the Staten Island Fencing Center

The Staten Island Fencing Center was founded in 1980 by Stephan Khinoy as a nonprofit sports club for
the purpose of teaching the Olympic sport of fencing. Originally known as the Staten Island Fencing
Club, The SIFC’s mission has been to teach students as young as 7 through to adults a curriculum that
includes stretching exercises, footwork drills, blade work lessons and technique and finally, preparation
for actual fencing matches. Classes are geared to advance students to high school, college and USA
fencing tournament competitions. The SIFC is member club of USA Fencing Association. 

 

Stephan, a professor of medieval literature & English had a lifelong love of fencing and was the club’s
first President and Head Coach. Along with Steve, other coaches included Susan Monardo who joined the club in 1997 concentrated on teaching our younger students. Susan, who is certified by the United States Fencing
Coaches Association, the professional Coaches Alliance, a member of USA Fencing, and Board member
of the USAF Metropolitan Division, became the President of the SIFC in 2000. She continued to coach
classes until 2013 when she left to open her own school. Coach Khinoy resumed his role as club
President and the name was changed to the Staten Island Fencing Center with its distinctive new red
and black logo.


Other coaches who have been part of the SIFC family include Charles Sanger who was and remains the
fencing coach at Tottenville High School. He remains an SIFC supporter by having his students attend
classes and open fencing sessions and donating equipment to the club. Ben Igoe, who was a national
and international Saber champion who came close to twice making the U.S. Olympic team was another
notable coach.  Ekrem Klobocista, Yuna Shaughnessy & Evan Arbitman are three other of our many coaches

who have taught at the SIFC. Coach Arbetman is an accomplished fencer with a great resume that includes top finishes in PSAL tournaments in 2010-11, Rutgers University fencing team 2011-15, Rutgers University Epee team Captain in 2015. USACFC top 4 finish in team Epee in 2012 & USACFC individual Qualifier in Epee in 2015. Evan acts as a guest coach teaching Epee to our students in the Knights class.


One-time coach and Board member Gysbert Quaadman took up fencing at the Royal Military Academy
in Holland but had to abandon fencing and the Academy when the Germans marched into his country in
1940. Bert came to America, met his wife, and made a life here, returning to fencing 55 years later at
age 72 and credited fencing with helping build his endurance. As an SIFC coach, he led students with his
unique brand of warmup exercises that always made the students smile. At age 74, Bert participated in
National Senior Tournaments with great success in 1994 and 1995. In addition to being a longtime Boy
Scout Master, he continued coaching at the club and served as Secretary, Treasurer until his death in
2012 at the age of 91.


The SIFC has had a gypsy-like existence as the club has moved to many locations during its history. One
of its early homes was the Sung Harbor Cultural Center. Next was the cafeteria at St John’s University
on Grymes Hill. On Thursdays the club held classes at the CYO at Mount Loretto on Hylan Blvd. Our
next stop was our initial residence at the Scout Hall in New Dorp - sometimes known as the Scout Shack
- from 2006 to 2010. Our next home was a big move to 4295 Arthur Kill Road in the Taranto Plaza
across from Killmeyer’s Bavarian Restaurant in 2010. The first-floor space was completely customized
and became the club’s first dedicated fencing salle. This new space included a raised wood floor with 3
full size fencing strips and one practice strip. An office and equipment area, dressing room, sitting area
and armory. The SIFC was able to use this space over 3 years until an increase in rent forced us to search
for a new home once again.


An exhaustive search took the club to a new location just a short distance away to a large truck garage
that measured 70’ x 70’ at 38 Winant Place. We built a raised wooden floor with 7 full-size strips, an
office and an armory. We customized the location by painting giant murals of variations of the club’s

logo all around the walls. After three years, we were on the move again to a second story space at 101
Ellis Street and opened on May 21th of 2016.  A year later, in October 2017, we made our return to our current home, the Scout Hall, which features 3 full length strips and sitting area.


In July of 2018 Stephan decided to retire and move to North Carolina with his wife Barbara, who served as

the club’s armorer for many years. David Setlow was appointed the new club President while Ed
Shaughnessy became the club Manager and Alan Miller served as social media and promotion manager.
Ekrem Klobocista, a former club member and student and who was our assistant coach of Coach Khinoy and board member 
became the new head Coach. Later on in December of 2018 Danny Assad also a former student of Steve Khinoy and club member was named Head Coach when Efrem left. In 2019, the club suffered a tragic loss when Ed Shaughnessy passed away suddenly. Ed had joined the club in 2004 along with his daughter, Yuna, who both took the introduction course and then became members. Ed later joined the board while Yuna occasionally coached and ran classes.


As club President and Manager, David Setlow continues overseeing finances, promotions, website, new
student recruitment as well as managing Open Fencing on Friday evenings. Danny Assad continues as
our Coach and has gained the respect of our students and their parents. Coach Danny teaches all our
Saturday group classes and private lessons on Friday evenings and Saturday mornings and early
afternoon.


While the Covid-19 pandemic has been a challenge, we have seen a growing interest and our Saturday
classes have increased in size along with our Open Fencing and private lessons. We maintain very
affordable pricing in comparison to other clubs in the Metropolitan Division and we will continue do so.
While it is never easy running a small business, and the SIFC has certainly had its share of challenging
times over the years, we are proud of our commitment to sharing this great sport of fencing with the
Staten Island community.  We look forward to continuing that tradition. En garde!

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Stephan A. Khinoy, Founder & Head Coach (April 28, 1941 – August 16,  2021)

Stephan Khinoy founded the Staten Island Fencing Center in 1980. He not only had a lifelong love of
the sport of fencing but a long career in education and publishing.


While attending Harvard University, he won the National Merit Scholarship in 1958 and achieved his
AB in English in 1963. He continued his education and received his PH.D. in English from John Hopkins
University in 1968. Steve obtained a Fulbright Fellowship at the University of Edinburgh in 1967-68.


Steve taught English and medieval literature at several school including the Rochester Institute of
Technology, The College of Staten Island, Staten Island Community College, New York University,
Essex Community College of Baltimore MD, and John Hopkins University.


Steve published various articles about his specialties of Chaucer and Dante and founded Swordplay
Books in 1997 where he released books and DVD’s on fencing strategy as well as biographies and
fiction. Additionally, he published classics of modern and historical fencing as well as new works by
fencing masters and elite fencers. Authors included World Champion and Olympic Silver medalist
Sergei Golubitsky and legendary Olympic coach Aladar Kogler. He was also instrumental in publishing
a breakthrough book on fencing strategy: Epee 2.5.


Steve’s love of fencing started with books that inspired him such as The Three Musketeers and Captain
Blood & The Crimson Pirate which led to him taking up fencing while at Harvard University. Steve
fenced Epee individually and on teams and became a certified coach (Prevost). He would go on to
coach both high school and college teams. These included Ralph McKee High School, and Bergen
County High School.


Steve served as a board member of USA Fencing Association. A recipient of the Jack Baker Award for
service to USA Fencing in 2009, Steve served on the USA Fencing Hall of Fame Committee for more
than 20 years and was Co-Chair of the committee from 1995 to 2016.


In 1980, Steve founded the Staten Island Fencing Center (originally called the SI Fencing Club) as a
non-profit entity to serve the community in which he lived, teaching the Olympic sport of fencing to
new generations of students. Steve served as the Center’s first President and along the way coaches
included Susan Monardo who took over as President in 2000, High School Coach Charlie Sanger and
Senior Fencer Bert Quaadman. Over time, the Center’s Board expanded to include parents and adult
fencers who helped direct the club and set polices. Steve’s wife, Barbara, participated in the club as
its armorer doing repairs on club and student fencing weapons.


Already retired from his academic career, in July of2018, Steve made the decision to retire from the SIFC and
he and Barbara settled in New Bern, North Carolina. Steve turned over control of the Club to Board members

Ed Shaughnessy, David Setlow and Alan Miller and coaching duties to his former student and assistant coach Ekrem Klobocista, later on that position went to Danny Assad. On August 16 th , 2021, Steve passed away at the age of 80. He was survived by Barbara, his wife of 30 years, and his sister, Diana Khinoy Reed.


Stephan Khinoy left behind a tremendous legacy as a wonderful and respected fencing teacher. He
was highly intelligent and a quick wit who enjoyed conversing and arguing about most any topic with
his endless knowledge. Though he is greatly missed, he will always be a part of the SIFC.

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