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 Ashland, Massachusetts, under the direction of Head Coach Dmytro Boyko, offers a range of sabre fencing programs at beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels.
"All we can say is 'Opa'! Zoran and his staff of coaches at Zeta introduced our family to fencing three years ago and forever changed our lives. Zeta is more than just world class saber - it's an extended family."
Coaches and Staff
Dmytro “Dima” Boyko
Dima Boyko started fencing in his native country of Ukraine, where he had an outstanding career as a sabre fencer and coach. He was a multiple national champion of Ukraine and represented his country in many international competitions. Dima won the titles of Cadet and Junior World Champion in 2003 and 2006, respectively. He also won silver with the Ukrainian National Team at the World Championships in Korea in 2006. In the same year, he became the youngest men’s sabre fencer to win a senior Grand Prix competition. In 2012, he competed for 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 joining Zeta Fencing in 2016, he has coached students of all levels and introduced new workout routines to improve the competitive and high performance programs. His students have medaled at local, regional, and national competitions. Several compete for college programs and internationally as well.
As Head Coach, Dima oversees the coaching staff at Zeta and approves of all student class placements. He enjoys teaching all levels of classes from beginner to adult, and he also gives private lessons.
Tim Hoffman started fencing during his freshmen year of college at George Mason University. As GMU fencing captain, Tim led the club through 4 successful seasons and brought home several conference championship medals for GMU. During this time, in addition to pursuing his own competitive career on the national circuit, he also facilitated after-school fencing programs with local Virginia fencing clubs.
Tim has learned under many different coaches over the past 8 years. He has also worked with fencers from both the American and British national teams and has coaching experience at the local and collegiate club levels.
Since Joining Zeta Fencing in 2020, Tim has taught the Beginner & Intermediate classes as well as the Cadet Class. He also gives private lessons.
Annette Pein has an extensive background in education, having taught at the college level and leading the award-winning German Saturday School Boston during a period of sustained growth.
Annette joined the Zeta Fencing family in 2008 when her older daughter started fencing in the Beginner’s Classes. Since then, her two daughters have been enrolled in every class level offered at Zeta. Along the way, they have competed and won medals in local, regional, national, and international competitions. Her older daughter became a four-time NCAA Championship qualifier while competing for Duke University and earned All-American honors in 2021. Annette is thoroughly familiar with all levels of fencing competitions, both nationally and internationally, USA Fencing regulations, tournament types, and qualification paths.
As Zeta Fencing’s Executive Director, Annette oversees all aspects of the club’s administration and communications. She provides parent orientations to all programs and classes offered at Zeta and provides parent support. She is responsible for the class and lesson schedule in consultation with the Head Coach.
Founder & President
Zoran Tulum has been a coach for more than 35 years. His career took him from winning the Yugoslav 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 worked as 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 served as the Olympic Coach for one of the first internationally successful US foil fencing teams.
In 2001, Zoran founded Zeta Fencing in Natick, Massachusetts. His students accumulated nearly every national title in the US at all age and classification levels, from youth tournaments through Junior Olympics and senior national championships. Many went on to compete in leading NCAA college programs. Over the years, Zoran’s students won medals at National Championships, NCAA championships, Cadet & Junior World Championships, Senior World Cups, Grand Prix, and Pan American Zonal Championships. They have also competed in the Olympics.
In 2014, Zoran Tulum was named National Coach for the US Men’s Sabre program. He served as US Fencing’s Men's Team Coach at the Olympic Games in Rio 2016 and in Tokyo 2021.
While preparing the nation’s best fencers for World Championships and the Olympic Games, Zoran knows that the future of sabre fencing depends on strong youth programs.
Zeta's beginnings in Natick
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.
After 20 years in Natick, Zeta Fencing outgrew its space and found a larger facility in Ashland. The Natick location closed in late 2021, and the new space opened in early January 2022.
The new location in the historic Clock Tower Building at 200 Homer Avenue in Ashland combines the large open space and high ceilings of an early 20th century New England mill building with state-of-the art wireless fencing and aluminum fencing pistes. The move to this new location enables the club to expand its offerings for all class levels and ages, including new vacation programs, and to reach new customers in the Boston Metrowest area.
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 Western civilization, 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 is in use to this day.
True to the origins of the letter Z, Zeta Fencing stands for the combination of art and fencing, for the deep connection between the letter and the sword.
ZETA IN THE NEWS
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:
For some Olympic fencers, movies deepen their connection to the sport (7/28/2021, USA Today)
Eli Dershwitz Returns for Gold in Padua (02/07/2018, USA Fencing)
Eli Dershwitz Takes Saber Fencing World Cup Title In Italy (02/03/2018, Team USA/Olympic Committee)
Grabbing the Gold: Star Fencer Eli Dershwitz Finds International Success Representing Team USA (11/13/2017, The Harvard Crimson)
USA’s Dershwitz and Korea’s Hong take gold at latest FIE World Cup events (11/07/2017, Euro Sport)
Fencer Eli Dershwitz is ready to strike at Rio Olympics (07/19/2016, 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)
Penn State pointman: Westwood’s Andrew Mackiewicz repeats as fencing champ (04/08/2016, The Boston Globe)
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)
If you are interested in purchasing team gear with the Zeta Fencing logo, please visit our Squadlocker online store by clicking here. We carry T-shirts and hoodies; seasonal items may be added to the store occasionally.