Meet the Team
Meet the coaches of IRSA. We have certified instructors or equivalent experience in the arts of combat.
Head Coach / Instructor
IN 1991 TONY BEGAN FENCING WITH FRENCH FOIL AND HUNGARIAN SABER. HE EARNED HIS INSTRUCTOR’S CERTIFICATION OF PROVOST AT ARMS IN CLASSICAL ITALIAN FENCING (FOIL, SABER, AND EPEE) AT THE SAN JOSE STATE FENCING MASTER’S PROGRAM. TONY WENT ON TO STUDY FENCING WITH RAPIER AND DAGGER, SIDE SWORD, HEAVY SABER, AND LONGSWORD AS WELL AS FOOT COMBAT IN FULL ARMOR. CLASSICAL ITALIAN FENCING, ALONG WITH HIS TRAINING IN TRADITIONAL MARTIAL ARTS INCLUDING AIKIDO, JUJITSU, KENDO, ESCRIMA, AND IAIDO GAVE TONY THE SCHOLARLY FOUNDATION TO INTERPRET HISTORICAL ITALIAN FENCING TREATISES. ULTIMATELY THESE STUDIES INSPIRED HIM TO ESTABLISH THE ITALIAN RENAISSANCE SWORDSMANSHIP ACADEMY (IRSA) WHERE HE SERVES AS HEAD COACH. STUDENTS AT IRSA STUDY DAGGER, HEAVY SABER, RAPIER, SIDE SWORD, SMALL SWORD, LONGSWORD, AND GRAPPLING.
Ian has been a practitioner of martial arts since 1968. He started studying judo (British Judo Association) at school and progressed to Karate (Wu Shu Kwan) during his undergraduate studies at college. While doing his graduate program at King’s College London, he started weapons training (katana) by studying Kendo and Iaido (Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu) with the Eikoku Kendo Renmei. Moving to California in 1980, he continued training in Kendo with the Northern California Kendo Federation and the short staff in Jodo (Shindo Muso Ryu). He studied cutting with the sword (Tameshigiri) with the Shinkendo group in Livermore. Ian studied foil at George Platt’s Swordplay Fencing Academy before joining Tony Barajas’ Italian Renaissance Swordsmanship Academy.
Tina is an assistant instructor at the Italian Renaissance Swordsmanship Academy under Provost Tony Barajas. She has been fencing HEMA for eight years and classical Italian for two years. She is an instructor’s candidate at the Fencing Master’s Certificate Program at Sonoma State University scheduled to take my exam in the summer of 2024. She specializes in smallsword, saber, foil, and epee.