16/12/2022- Referee


‘My Fencing World’ explores the world of British Fencing as told through the personal stories of people of all ages and abilities in our community. Here we catch up with referee and athlete Luke Deamer about his refereeing journey. Luke was also recently awarded ‘Outstanding Contribution by a Referee’ at the 2020-21 BF Community Awards.

Introduce yourself – who are you and how did you get into fencing?

I’m a foil referee, fencer and coach. Most people will know me as a referee though, supporting competitions around the UK and Europe.I started fencing when I was six. I’d seen a fencing demonstration when on holiday in France and just loved the idea. Like any six year old, I associated the sport with knights, Star Wars and Pirates of the Caribbean. When we got home, my parents found our local fencing club, Crawley Sword Club, and I’ve been there ever since!

How did you get involved in refereeing?After fencing in the England and GBR Cadet squad, refereeing became my way of keeping in contact with the fencing community. I’ve always kept up my competitive fencing, especially through university, so refereeing also felt like a way to give back to the fencing world. Passing my Foil FIE exam in 2017 also opened the door to refereeing at Junior World Cups; this became a great way to meet referees from around the world. It’s great to be part of so many refereeing communities – I can’t wait to see them again at the next competition!

What work have you been doing throughout your refereeing journey?

Throughout my refereeing career, I’ve always been keen on encouraging referee development. Just over a year ago, I therefore leapt at the chance to take over as Head of Referees for England Fencing. With no competitions over the lockdowns, I suddenly found I had more time to work on the Level 1 & 2 refereeing system. In collaboration with referees across Britain, I started to pull together education resources. My aim was to create engaging, standardised resources for referee instructors. This meant developing quizzes, games and video analysis that instructors could then present. I also wanted to increase the support we offer to new referees in England and started the groundwork for referee mentoring within the Level 1 & 2 system.After these resources were agreed by the other home nations, we have collectively set about relaunching the referee levels over lockdown. Among other things, this meant the home nations have been busy appointing instructors and mentors to run the new referee system. Hopefully we can create a great environment to develop new referees – watch this space!

As well as refereeing, how have you been keeping up with your training?Alongside the referee development work, I’ve been fortunate enough to have been able to keep training through the last year. From online Zoom sessions to outdoor footwork/sparring in a car park, Crawley Sword Club has found a way to meet. Together with the club committee, I’ve therefore been busy running and organising sessions. From running outdoor footwork sessions to giving webinars on refereeing, from making sign up forms to coaching our Junior fencers, there’s been a lot to do during the last year.

I’m very fortunate that my fencing and referee development never fully stopped during COVID. Like many though, I can’t wait until it’s safe to fence without restrictions; I can’t wait to compete again; I can’t wait to referee a competition again; I can’t wait to see referees being trained and mentored; but most of all, I can’t wait to see everyone again!


Do you have your own story to share? Email [email protected] to appear in the My Fencing World series!

Nominations for the BF Community Awards 2021-22 close on the 6th January 2023 at 5pm – vote now!

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