Richard Kruse On Fire. Picture from 2010 Z1 Pro Fencing "Duel at the Marina" Singapore.
When I heard Olympic Fencer Richard Kruse had won gold at the recent Tokyo World Cup 2019, becoming Britain's first-ever world number one ranked foilist, l was delighted not only for him, but for the entire British Fencing and his team mates. It's darkest days seemed to be coming to an end.
It had been quite a journey for all of great Britain's fencing community, when after not medalling at the 2016 Rio Olympics, was stripped of all funding by UK Sports. I only learned of this shocking news when I first met James-Andrew Davies at the FIE Grand Prix in 2017 held in California.
Because of this, the entire British national team had to find their own way to keep going forward, with James landing in the USA to train and coach at the M Team. I heard Richard Kruse had to rent out his apartment or something to that fact to help fund his training (not sure whether that's accurate). The team also received some initial crowd funding from folks, support by their coaches and sponsors like Leon Paul kept up their support of various members of the team. Everyone made sacrifices.
"Everyone Together" - James-Andrew Davies, Team GBR Fencer
It seemed like this dire situation increased everyone's resolve to not only not give in, but to work better together, and do whatever it took to keep the dream alive. It was for this, we saw them more on USA shores. I had the pleasure to meet several members including Keith Cook, and Marcus Mepstead at the Summer Nationals in 2018.
They reminded me of the great British lionheart Winston Churchill's famous speech "Never Give In" during the dark days of WW2,
"Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never
-- in nothing, great or small, large or petty -- never give in,
except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force.
Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy."
- Winston Churchill
Indeed lionheart Richard Kruse did not give in and with this wonderful historic World number one feat, has given a nation of British fencers hope and belief. More than that, I have seen how the British team rallied together, working together, knowing that their fate depended on their faith and belief in "Everyone Together". James-Andrew Davies got that right on.
Giving their support for All4Refugees, humanity's biggest challenge since WW2.
As a young brand, we have not been able to support the team in a meaningful financial way. But we knew that for what we stood - born from fencing - and what we would become in the future, depended on how we responded to James and his team's challenges. We resolved that we would find ways to help, support and cheer on the British Team. They inspired us with their "never give in" spirit.
It is thus fitting at this time, celebrating the historic win by Richard and to recognise the collective work of British Fencing and its fencers, to begin work on our first limited edition of our GBR "Never Give In" ZZZUMA glove. We have been testing and refining the glove with James for over 2 years now. We hope to have it ready soon enough. Stay tuned.
The essence of fencing, besides being an amazing sport, at it's core carries the noble seed of "heroism". To be heroes. To be chivalrous. To be honourable. At ZZUMA, we belief that when the world comes to appreciate the true beauty of fencing, and when we as a fencing community connect back to that core, our art and sport will have a great future. Being popular is a fad, becoming great takes substance.
Once again, congratulations to Richard Kruse and British Fencing - to the end of your darkest days!
Let us all become collectively the Allied Powers for Good.