Executive Director Kelly Williams
The Kansas City Fencing Center is under the direction of Executive Director Kelly Williams. Coach Williams is certified to coach foil, epee, and sabre by the United States Fencing Association and the United States Fencing Coaches Association.
Ms. Williams comes to us from Chapel Hill, NC where she studied Physical Education at the University of North Carolina. Prior to her move to Kansas, she was the Head Fencing Coach at North Carolina State University 1989-91 and Assistant Coach at University of North Carolina 1992-96.
In October of 1998 she became the first American fencer to win a silver medal at a Senior World Championship event.
The United States Fencing Association voted her the 1998 Female Athlete of the Year. Kelly is a 4 time US National Individual Champion, and lead 2 teams to US Women's Sabre National titles.
She represented the United States at the 1999 Senior World Championships in Seoul Korea. Coach Williams was the #1 ranked female sabre fencer in the US until retiring from competition to focus on coaching. Coach Williams has served on the Board of Directors for US Fencing, US Fencing’s Youth Development Committee and as chair for the Kansas Division of the USFA 2001-02. Additionally, Coach Williams was the Instructor for Level 2 and 3 Sabre at US Fencing’s Coaches College held at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
In collegiate competition Coach Williams' students successfully competed in medal rounds of NCAA Regional and National Fencing Championships. Ms Williams' students have placed within the finals (top eight) nationally in every United States Fencing Association sabre age group.
Coach Benjamin Kloeppersmith
Ben is a certified instructor in both Foil and Saber by the United States Fencing Association. He also has his certification in Sport Safety Training from the American Red Cross / U.S. Olympic Committee, and is certified by the American Coaching Effectiveness Program as a coach of young athletes.
Ben entered the world of fencing after the 1996 Olympics, when he first discovered that there is in fact a sport with swords. (His parents were energetically scolded for this gap in his prior education.) He found a home here at the Kansas City Fencing Center, studying saber with Vladimir Nazlymov. Ben actively competed on the national scene for five years, where he was consistently ranked among the top fencers nationally in his age group. He was selected by his peers to serve as Team Captain of KCFC’s Competitive Program, a testament to both his work ethic and his leadership skills.
Ben kept up his fencing while pursuing his other passion, graphic design, at JCCC. At the club, his natural empathy and strong understanding of fencing made it easy for him to help out younger students coming up through the sport. In the fall of 2003, Kelly offered him a full time position to do what he loved – teach saber!
Since then, Ben has coached both kids and adults in the art and sport of saber. Understanding that the game is not static, he works hard to stay abreast of the evolving modern game. With creativity and enthusiasm, he engages his students at all levels. Ben, in a very patient and playful manner, easily communicates with his students his passion for fencing, art and life.
And his wife thinks he's very cute and charming.
Coach Michael Carter
Michael, along with with his son Brandon, was first introduced to the sport of fencing in the Fall of 2007. He always wanted to be a swordsman, just like all the heroes of the books he read. Being a good athlete and strategic thinker, he was quick to pick up the game.
As a competitor, Michael was solid. He has a good grasp of both the technical and tactical sides of the modern game. Problem was, he always got more excited about seeing his opponent do well, or solve a difficult problem, than he ever did about his own success.
As a coach, Michael is an encourager. He now teaches all of our adult introductory level classes. There is never any question when Mike is in the house - when he gets excited about a student’s performance, everyone in the gym is going to know it. He is a lifelong learner, always looking for ways to improve his understanding of the game. Michael brings a level of enthusiasm to our programs that is unmatched in the Kansas City area.
Coach Leigh hinkel
Mrs. Coach Leigh, as she is known to her students, is the coach of our youngest new students. Leigh teaches beginning fencing to children ages 6-9 years. She started her fencing education with the KC Fencing Center in 2008 and fenced recreationally with our programs until stepping into her current coaching position. Coach Leigh also has her AA in Exercise Science/Coaching. Prior to taking over our Children’s beginning classes, Leigh worked with FitKids teaching physical/movement education to children ages 2.5-7 years.
Leigh possesses a passion for both fencing and children. In a well-structured but spirited manner, Leigh introduces children to the wide world of fencing - from a brief history told with various Lego people; through the basics of footwork, blade-work and etiquette; to actual fencing using modern electric scoring equipment. Through the use of various fencing-related games and activities, her students get a fun introduction to both fencing and a healthy lifestyle.