The First Annual Joe Dabbs Open
A founding member of the MARS Fencing Club on Huntsville’s Redstone Arsenal
in 1963 and of the Huntsville Fencing Club in 1971, Joe Dabbs is a true
"three weapon man" who originally took up foil, epee, and saber almost
simultaneously because it gave him the opportunity to spend his entire
Joe began fencing in the early 1950s at the local YMCA near Lowry Air Force
Base while serving in the US Air Force. Within the year, both Joe Dabbs and
his instructor, Capt. Joseph Velarde, were transferred to Hahn Air Force
Base in Germany. Here Joe continued his instruction under Capt. Velarde at a
local German fencing club open to GIs. (Joseph Velarde was later to become
the fencing master at the US Military Academy at West Point, and was
recently named posthumously to the USFA Hall of Fame.)
Joe developed a passion for the sport, and competed almost every weekend in
Germany, including in major competitions such as the Aeger Von Soerst, the
International Sabre Championship at Traben Trabach, and in foil at the
famous Martini Rossi Championship. Joe advanced to the second round of the
Martini Rossi, an extraordinary achievement for a fencer who had been
training for fewer than four years.
Shortly before leaving Germany in 1957, Joe was selected as a member of the
US Armed Forces Olympic Team and fenced in the Military Olympics in
Luxembourg. Joe speaks nostalgically of traveling travelling through Europe
training, competing, and socializing as a member of the US team. Upon
returning to the US, Joe entered college at Florida State University and
started a university fencing club. In subsequent years he also helped found
the University of Florida Gators Fencing Club, and later, while employed by
NASA, the MARS Club and the Huntsville Fencing Club. He taught fencing on
and off for decades, including for ten years at the University of Alabama in
On the strip, Joe was always focused, aggressive, and very
much a serious competitor. Off the strip, he was until recently an avid cave
diver and dive instructor, and remains a genial raconteur par excellence.
(Some describe him affectionately as an “old pirate.”) Joe has been a
constant, active member of the Huntsville Fencing Club since its inception,
has been designated by the club as Fencer Emeritus, and remains a trusted
advisor. According to Joe, the greatest satisfaction he has had from all his
years of fencing has been the people he met.
At present, the Joe Dabbs Open is an epee competition, given the HFC’s
status as largely an epee club. However, in accordance with Joe’s wishes,
not to mention his experience as a “three weapon man,” we will one day
expand the tournament to include foil and saber events, quite possibly as a
three weapon team event.
The First Annual La
Named for Julie d'Aubigny, more commonly known as Mademoiselle de Maupin,
the tournament consists of two events: a women's open and a mixed open. The
2010 tournament will be held on Saturday, July 24 at Central Church of
Christ Gymnasium in Huntsville. Registration for the women's open closes at
8:30, and for the mixed event at 11:30. La Maupin was a superb late 17th
century swordswoman and opera singer of often notorious reputation. She once
reportedly slew three men, one after the other, in a duel after they
challenged her at Versailles.
The First Annual MARS
The tournament is named for Huntsville, Alabama’s first fencing club, the
MARS Fencing Club, which was founded after John Jordan ran an advertisement
in the Marshall Star, the newspaper of the Marshall Space Flight
Center, in 1963. Other early members include Joe Dabbs, Fletcher Kurtz, and
Elias Katsaros. The club usually met on the Redstone Arsenal in the NASA
gym, and the majority of the club’s members were “NASA guys” and US Army
The Marshall Space Flight Center was born when Werner von Braun and his
coterie of German rocket scientists were brought to Huntsville by the US
government to develop missiles for the purposes of national defense and
space exploration. At the time, NASA in Huntsville was central to early US
manned space flight, including the Apollo program which put men on the moon.
The tournament will be held sometime in the fall, and will include a mixed
open epee and probably a team epee event. We’re also considering a separate
women’s or youth event.
Joe Dabbs Open 2010
(19 Competitors, a B1 Event ): 1. Brian
Parker. 2. Geoffrey Babb. 6. Mike Greene. 7. Kirsten Anderson. 9.
Jonathon Thrasher. 10. Whitney Moore. 11. Andrew Davis. 14. Hugh
Davis. 15. Derek Welford. 16. Richard Ballard. 17. Kim
Story. 18. Nicole Story. 19. Ellis Womack.
(18 Competitors): 2. Hugh Davis. 3. Brian
Link To Full
Joe Dabbs Open 2011
Competitors, an A1 Event): 2. Brian Parker 3T. Geoffrey
Babb 5. Roland Vincent 6. David Young 8. Robert Coker(Re-earns
E) 9. Michael Slanovits 10. Hugh Davis 11. Andrew Davis
12. John Briggs 13. Ryan Kline 14. Emily Stewart 16. Chad
Scales 17. Stephen Peters 19. Aaron Muncy 20. Emily
Carpenter 21. Christie Peters 22. Richard Ballard 24. Maji
Link to Mixed Epee Full Results
Epee: (6 Competitors, an E1 Event): 1. Mary Crouch (earns E)
2. Kirstin Anderson 3T. Kim Story 5. Nicole Story 6.
Link to Full Results
(17 Competitors, a B1 Event): 2. Geoffrey Babb. 3T. Andrew
Davis (Earns C). 3T. Brian Parker. 5. Chad Scales. 6.
Jonathan Thrasher. 7. Joe Rogers (Earns E). 8. Robert Coker
(Earns E). 9. Ryan Kline. 10. Kim Story. 11. Mary Crouch.
12. John Briggs. 13. Hugh Davis. 14. Kirstin Anderson. 15.
Derek Welford. 17. Kirsten Davis.
Link to Full Results
Photographs of The La Maupin Tournament available through this Link:
Epee: (8 Competitors, an E1 Event): 2. Kirstin Anderson 3T.
Whitney Moore 5. Mary Crouch 7. Christie Peters 8. Kim Story
Link to Women's Results
Competitors, a B2 Event): 1. Geoffrey Babb 3T. Brian Parker
3T. Michael Slanovits 5. Mary Crouch 6. David Young 7.
Stephen Peters 8. John Briggs 9. Andrew Davis 11. Chad
Scales 12. Robert Coker 14. Hugh Davis 16. Christie Peters
18. Barrie Peters 19. Aaron Cecil 20. Kirstin Anderson 22.
Jacob Cecil 23. Whitney Moore 24. Kim Story 25. Maji Billingsley
Link to Open Epee Full Results
MARS Musketeers 2010
2010 Open: Mixed Epee: (25 Competitors, a B2 Event):
1. Brian Parker. 2. Chad Scales 3. Andrew Davis 6.
Geoffrey Babb 8. Whitney Moore (Earns D) 9. Hugh Davis 10.
Robert Coker 11. Rick Behel (Earns E) 12. Kirsten Anderson 15.
John Briggs 19. Kirsten Davis 20. Kim Story 21. Hyun Su
Nam 22. Emily Carpenter 23 Aaron Muncy 24. Nicole Story
MARS Musketeers 2011
Epee:(13 Competitors, an E1 event): 2. Geoffrey Babb 3T. Chad
Scales 6. David Young. 7. Mary Crouch 8. Robert Coker
10. Sam Espy 11. Robert Parks 12. John Briggs 13. Maji