Fencing, the art of swordsmanship, has been practiced for centuries. Originally geared for combat, it is now staged for Olympic gold. The sport of fencing develops quick thinking, poise, agility and speed, as well as self-confidence and sportsmanship. Fencing is a lifetime sport, equally suitable for men and women, children and adults. Zeta Fencing in Natick, Massachusetts, under the direction of Head Coach Zoran Tulum, offers a range of sabre fencing programs at beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels.
Best fencing club in New England hands down. One of the best Saber clubs in the country.
- Joshua, parent
President, Head Coach
Zoran Tulum has been a fencer for over 40 years and a coach for more than 30. His career has taken him from winning the Yugoslavian National Championships to coaching the US National Team at the Olympic Games.
As a fencing master, Zoran coached at Harvard University for two years and was Head Coach of Stanford University’s fencing program for 12 years. From 1988 to 1996, Zoran Tulum was the US National Men’s Foil Coach. In 1996, he was Olympic Coach for one of the first internationally successful US foil fencing teams. As an early promoter of our sport in the US, he and his team were even featured in Vanity Fair.
In 2001, Zoran founded his own fencing club in Natick, Massachusetts. His students at Zeta Fencing have accumulated nearly every national title in the US at each age and classification level, from Youth Tournaments through Junior Olympics and Senior National Championships. Many have gone on to fencing in leading college programs. Currently, members of the US Cadet, Junior, and Senior World Sabre Teams are among Zoran’s students. During the last two years, his students won medals at Junior World Championships, Senior World Cups, and Pan American Zonal Championships.
In 2014, Zoran Tulum was named National Coach again, this time for the US Men’s Sabre program. He was one of US Fencing’s Olympic Sabre Coaches at the Olympic Games in Rio 2016. While preparing the nation’s best fencers for World Championships and Olympic Games, Zoran knows that the future of sabre fencing depends on strong youth programs in our fencing clubs. In 2016, Zoran Tulum founded Zeta Fencing Youth Academy, a unique institution that introduces new fencers to the Olympic sport of fencing. For Zoran, being a fencing coach means much more than simply teaching fencing moves: “We can say that we don’t teach people how to fence in our club, we teach people how to be fencers, which is a much, much higher category.”
Dmytro “Dima” Boyko
Dima Boyko started fencing in Ukraine, where he had an outstanding career as a fencer. He is a multiple national champion of Ukraine and represented his native country in many international competitions. Dima won titles as Cadet and Junior World Champion (2003, 2006), and won silver with his team at the World Championships in Korea 2006. During the same year, he became the youngest men’s sabre fencer to win a senior Grand Prix competition. In 2012, he represented Ukraine at the Olympic Games in London.
Dima received his Master of Fencing degree from Ukraine’s State University of Physical Culture in Lviv. He has extensive experience as a fencing coach and worked with the Ukrainian National Team for several years. Since he joined Zeta Fencing in 2016, he has coached students of all levels and introduced new workout routines to improve our competitive and high performance programs.
Dima coaches all levels of classes at Zeta Fencing and gives private lessons, his focus are the competitive and high performance programs.
Matthew Zich started fencing at the age of 10 at the New York Fencers Club. He was coached by Olympic silver medal winning coach Yury Gelman. Later, Matt also had the chance to work with renowned coach Emik Kaidanov for an extended period of time.
Matt was a member of three US World Championship teams, the first time as a Cadet in 2003 (Italy), and two more times as a Junior in 2005 (Austria) and 2006 (Korea). In 2004, Matt won the US Junior National Championships. Matt has been ranked 1st in Under-14, Under-17, and Under-19, and he was ranked as high as 6th in Division I Men’s Sabre during his active fencing career.
As a coach, Matt integrates his extensive national and international competition experience into his teaching. Since Matt started coaching, his students consistently reached the final rounds at state and regional competitions. Since he started coaching at Zeta Fencing in 2014, Matt lead his fencers to national championship titles as well as numerous national and regional medals.
Matt coaches all levels of classes at Zeta Fencing and gives private lessons, his focus are the competitive and high performance programs.
Eva Heinrich brings professional experience as an educational consultant, college professor, textbook editor and published writer to Zeta Fencing. She has developed educational programs from Kindergarten to college level. As a language instructor as well as a fencing coach, Eva has long-standing experience teaching all age groups. In her role as Zeta Fencing’s Executive Director, Eva oversees the club’s administration, program development, PR and marketing, membership support/recruitment, and all areas of day-to-day business.
Eva competes actively as a veteran fencer and has won numerous national medals. She holds a certificate as Moniteur de Sabre from the US Fencing Coaches Association.
Zeta Fencing was founded in 2000, when Zoran Tulum happened to stumble into a beautiful historical building in the heart of Natick, Massachusetts. He realized that he had found the space that would give him the chance to do what he had always dreamed of—to establish a fencing school true to European traditions. Today, very few fencing salles exist in the world that embody the spirit and atmosphere of the Victorian era, the golden age of fencing. Zoran spent many years remodeling the historical salle in Natick’s historic Odd Fellows’ building to bring back its original charm.
The Odd Fellows’ Building on Natick’s South Main Street was constructed in 1887–1888 directly off Natick’s Town Common. It was originally designed by Ernest N. Boyden of Boston. The tall brick building was the meeting place for the Lodge of Odd Fellows at Natick, the Takawambait Lodge. After the Lodge left, the large meeting room on the building’s third floor served many purposes, but as a fencing salle, it seems to have found its perfect designation.
For the 2015-2016 season, Zeta Fencing will open a second fencing room in the same building, L’Atelier. Our new room will be the home of Zeta’s beginner and pre-competitive programs. With two beautiful rooms, La Salle (Chez Papa) and L’Atelier (Chez Maman), Zeta Fencing will be able to offer a wider variety of fencing classes and events.
When thinking about a name for his new fencing school, Zoran wanted to go beyond the fashion of basing club names on geography or the name of the owner. Even though many think that “Zeta” stands for the first letter of Zorro or even Zoran’s name, none of this crossed his mind when he chose the club’s name.
In the Far East, the traditions of art and swordsmanship have always been deeply connected. Besides living the pristine life of warriors and following its strict orders, the Samurai recited poetry and practiced calligraphy, the visual art of writing. When performing calligraphy, the brush never leaves the page from the beginning to the very end of a movement. For the Samurai, the stroke of the brush was the equivalent of the stroke of their sword, so art and swordsmanship were unified in writing.
On the other side of the world, in Europe, we find a similar connection between art and swordsmanship. Influential artists like Albrecht Dürer, Michelangelo, and Leonardo da Vinci were all renowned fencing masters. At the same time, they were responsible for the first designs of letter types as we know them today. Instead of calligraphy’s brush, they were using engraving tools.
Through the history of the alphabets of our Western civilization, we find that the letter Z always had a very significant meaning. The origin of the letter Z, the Semitic Character Za (pronounced “zag”), meant dagger, sword, or simply weapon, with its form representing its meaning. Later, the Phoenicians changed the letter’s name to Zayin but kept its original meaning. As the only letter directly representing a sword, the Greek included it in their alphabet as Zeta around 1000 BC. Later on, the Romans made Z the last letter of the Latin alphabet that we use to this day.
True to the origins of the sport, Zeta Fencing stands for the combination of art and fencing, for the deep connection between the letter and the sword.
Students and coaches of Zeta Fencing have been featured in many news articles. Here are some links to interesting articles that can be found online:
Fencer Eli Dershwitz is ready to strike at Rio Olympics (07/19/3016, The Boston Globe)
How this Natick native took fencing to an Olympic level (07/16/2016, boston.com)
USA Olympic fencing team unveiled in Richmond (04/12/2016, NBC12 TV)
Fencing: Dershwitz claims sabre title at Seoul Grand Prix (03/26/2016, EuroNews TV)
Natick’s Zeta Fencing truly a home of champions (11/23/2015, Metro West Daily News)
Sherborn teen fencer is pointing to Rio Olympics (07/31/2015, The Boston Globe)
Male Rookie of the Year: Dershwitz To Pursue Olympic Dreams (05/28/2015, The Harvard Crimson)
Sherborn’s Eli Dershwitz repeats as Pan American champion in Sabre (04/26/2015, The Boston Globe)
Sherborn Fencer is Junior World Champion (04/15/2015, Hometown Weekly)
Cambridge’s Violet Michel to compete in World Fencing Championships (03/27/2015, Wicked Local Cambridge)
Wellesley Girls Master the Saber (03/12/2015, Hometown Weekly)
Westwood’s Andrew Mackiewicz preps for World Fencing Championships (06/29/2014, The Boston Globe)
Sherborn teen Eli Dershwitz, US Sabre champion, off to worlds in Russia (06/26/2014, The Boston Globe)
Sherborn’s Eli Dershwitz among world’s top saber fencers (05/15/2014, Dover-Sherborn Press)
USA Fencing complete coaching line-up ahead of Rio 2016 with men’s sabre appointment (01/08/2014, Inside the Games)
Liz Morgan-DeLossa: From fencing I’ve learned about discipline and assertiveness (12/16/2013, Wayland Student Press Network)
Sudbury Girl Earns Bronze Medal in Fencing Championship (07/21/2013, The MetroWest Daily News)
Local teens climb fencing’s ladder with Olympics in mind (03/21/2013, The Boston Globe)
A Fencer for Life (07/30/2010, Dover-Sherborn Press)
The Mark of Zoran (April 2008, MetroWest Magazine)
A Quick Sabre, a Quicker Mind (11/18/2007, The Boston Globe)
Anatomy of a Champion (May 1996, Vanity Fair)