About the Head Coach


Leslie Taft began her fencing career at Cal State Los Angeles in 1976, where she competed on the women’s foil and epee teams.Upon graduation, she continued to compete for the Los Angeles Athletic Club.

Leslie moved to the desert in 1984 and began teaching the fencing classes at College of the Desert in 1986. In 1990, the C.O.D. fencing team was formed and has been successfully competing in foil, sabre and epee.

Leslie’s fencing accomplishments

  • 1995, Pacific Coast Women’s Sabre Champion
  • 1995,1998, 1999, California State Women’s Sabre Champion
  • 1998, “A” rating in Women’s Sabre, World Cup Championships
  • 1999, 2000, World Cup finalist, Women’s Sabre
  • 2001, North American Cup, Women’s Sabre Champion
  • 2002, Long Beach Invitational, Women’s Sabre Champion
  • 2005, 3rd Place, Women’s Sabre, Pacific Coast Championships
  • 2007, 1st Place, Mixed Sabre 27th Annual Haake und Slasche
  • 2012, 3rd Place, Veteran 50 Women’s Epee, Summer National Championship
  • 2012, 5th Place, Veteran 50 Women’s Saber, Summer National Championship
  • 2014, 6th place, Mixed Saber, 34th Annual Haake und Slasche
  • 2014, 2nd place, Women’s Epee, 34th Annual Haake und Slasche
  • 2015, 1st place, Mixed Saber, 35th Annual Haake und Slasche
  • 2015, 2nd place Women’s Epee, 35th Annual Haake und Slasche
  • 2015, 2nd place, Veteran 60 Women’s Saber, Summer National Championships
  • 2015, 3rd place, Veteran 60 Women’s Epee, Summer National Championships
  • 2016, 1st place, Mixed Saber, 36th Annual Haake und Slasche
  • 2016, 4th place, Women’s Epee, 36th Annual Haake und Slasche

Leslie’s training and coaching:

  • 2002, USFA Coaches College, Level One Foil & Saber
  • 2003, USFA Coaches College, Level One & Two Epee
  • 2004, trained with European fencing masters in Hungary
  • 2005, USFA Coaches College, Level Two Saber
  • 2005, USFA Armorers College, Level Three Armorer
  • 2005, worked with U.S. Olympic Sabre coach, Ed Korfanty
  • 2006, USFA Coaches College, Level Three Epee
  • 2006, studied with Mario Rodriguez, U.S. Paralympian sabre fencer, Gary Copeland, Junior National Epee coach, Ed Korfanty, U.S. Olympic Sabre coach.
  • 2007, worked with U.S. Olympic Sabre coach, Ed Korfanty
  • 2010, Fencers Club, New York, Coaches Saber Camp
  • Fencing choreography for numerous high school and college plays.

Desert Fencing Academy opened its doors on February 24, 2003.

It is the dream come true for College of the Desert fencing coach, Leslie Taft.

“For several years I’ve dreamed of opening my own fencing club where all fencers, beginning, intermediate, advanced, recreational and high-level could come to train, take lessons and bout with other fencers, and now the desert has such a facility at Desert Fencing Academy.”

Desert Fencing Academy welcomes fencers of all levels and ages.

Instruction in all three weapons — foil, sabre and epee.

Classes range from group sessions to individual lessons.

All equipment is provided.

Leslie attends Coaches College at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs during the summer.