Bob Anderson with Leon Hill and Philip Bruce at the British Academy of Fencing's Diamond Jubilee
Photo by Jon Head
Bob was all that the assorted reports in the UK and here in Canada have made him out to be, but much more than this. Few here in Canada ever knew him as a fencer or coach, and of his cinematic and theatrical exploits we have only his personal anecdotes and the media reports. Here, he was the occasional public face of fencing, using his own fame and notoriety to push past stereotypes and draw attention to the reality of fencing as a modern competitive sport, but his real contribution was to be a conciliator and institution-builder behind the scenes. Bob used his unique position as an outsider and his exceptional abilities to inspire trust, confidence and a sense of camaraderie, in order to unify a divided and fractious Canadian Fencing Association and lay the foundation for the modern sport governing body it has since become. He built bridges between warring factions, persuaded them to direct their energies in the common cause of building the sport, and to learn from the past but focus on the future. He also recognized that while elite athletes and cinematic depictions are an important part of the sport, the sport itself is much more – that like an iceberg (or perhaps Bob Geldof’s laconic depiction of a swan) much more goes on below the waterline than above it. In Canada, he played an important role not only in developing elite fencers, but in developing coaches, trainers, armourers, presidents-de-jurie, both directly and indirectly. He put me into contact with others from whom I could learn as an armourer, encouraged me to develop new skills and knowledge and to pass them on as a teacher and author. He also built bridges between the CFA and the AFA (as both then were), not just institutionally but personally: when my wife and I moved to London to study and practice in the late 1980s he introduced us and ensured a warm welcome creating many friendships that still endure.
It is perhaps the way of the world that many young fencers will know little more than what is published, but whether on that side of the Atlantic or this, they are nonetheless in his debt.
Christopher D. Ram, Counsel
Canada Dept. of Justice
Prof. Bob Anderson
Everyone at British Fencing is deeply saddened by the loss of this great man and our thoughts are with his family and friends. Karim Bashir | Communications
In my name and in name of the Academia de Armas de Portugal I would like to express my deepest sympathies for the lost of a great fight director. Thank you for sharing the sad news. And thank you Bob Anderson for the dreams of adventure you staged for us so many times.
Eugénio Roque, Portugal
‘Grumpy Old Bob’ they used to call him. However he was my most influential coach accompanying me to Olympic Games and several World Championships and has been my guidance for the last 30 years.To the film industry he was without doubt the most talented ‘true’ Swordmaster ever and I had the honour of working with him as his assistant on several occasions. I will miss my visits to’ White Lodge’ and the hours of reminiscing with Bob of fencing years gone by. To quote Bob”I stand on the shoulders of those gone before me”. Bob Anderson, you truly were a Legend in your own Lifetime.
Remembered with great fondness.
My Heart Missed A Beat, Felt Dizzy Reading The Sad News. He Is Truely A World Class Fencing Master And Fight Director. My Thoughts Are Also For Him and His Family and Friends Alike.
Conrad Roy Makosz, Holland
A hero and gentleman, one of the World's greatest teachers. It was an honour and priviledge to know and work with him
Prof. Jes Smith, London
The first two Fencing books I bought were by Bob Anderson. and I find it interesting that it was actually Bob who was Vader in the famous Star Wars fighting scene because that magnificent scene was the reason I got interested in Fencing
Örn Leifsson, Iceland
We lost a real talent. May he rest in Peace
Stuart Lee, USA
Such sad news. I had the pleasure of meeting him at Diamond Swords and he was a fantastic guy and will be greatly missed. My thoughts are with his family and friends at this sad time
Stuart Clough, England
Very saddened to hear. Will be greatly missed by all
Peter Steele, England
What a Legend.
Jamie McClement, England
A great man, a good friend, I will miss him