The West Coast Fencing Archive was founded in December, 2012 by Mark Headley and Doug Nichols. Initially formed to preserve and catalog the estate of Charles and Julie Selberg, the Archive has expanded its goal to incorporate the history of the sport of fencing on the West Coast of the United States.
Preserving US West Coast Fencing History
Fencing coaches are almost always great storytellers. Maybe that’s because so often the ‘story behind the story’ is passed down as oral history.
Our goal is to capture that story. And maybe a picture or two. Is there a video? An old home movie on actual film? We’ll take those, too. All of their material helps to share stories of fencing and fencers from the West Coast.
We’ve touched on the well-known personalities and dug up stories about fencers who haven’t been thought of for many a year. Plus, fencing clubs and individual fencers have come forward with information, photos and videos that have enhanced both the collection and our understanding.
Over time, the Archive intends to be a repository of as many related images and documents as can be found, as well as a facility for creating short documentary films and written accounts to record for posterity stories of fencing and fencers.
Many fencing stories are passed on through oral history and since many of the stories of bouts or personalities are bigger-than-life memories, let’s all confess that a certain amount of exaggeration can come into play in the re-telling of fencing yarns. My hand is up because guilty.
With this site, the goal is to attempt to get as near to the root story as possible. Mistakes and omissions shall be my own. I fully expect the response, “That’s not what happened!” Furthermore, I welcome it! How close can we come to a first hand account? All we can do is keep trying, so that’s what I’ll do here on this website. I’ll put a stake in the ground with the best information to hand and when I get better information, I’ll move the stake.
Doug Nichols, Site Historian, Archivist
Meet the Archive Team
Doug began fencing at Cabrillo College in 1977 under the tutelage of Len Carnighan. Transferring to San Jose State in 1979, he trained under Olympian and Olympic team coach Michael D’Asaro. At SJSU, Doug won the Western Regionals and was an NCAA championships finalist in 1981. A three weapon fencer, he was an A rated foilist and a member of the gold medal-winning Pacific Coast Championship foil team from The Fencing Center in 1985.
In 1988 he began a 25 year career in animated films, working for Disney, Pixar, Dreamworks and Lucasfilm. He has returned to the sport, founding the West Coast Fencing Archive with Mark Headley in 2012. As the Executive Director, Doug has directed one feature documentary with another in production, written six self-published books and cataloged and conserved over 70 donations of fencing history and memorabilia into the Archive.
Gregory Lynch Jr.
Greg Lynch Jr earned his bachelor degree in Film Making, emphasis writing in 1986. He parlayed that piece of paper into a 22 year career building sets in Hollywood. He worked on such feature films as Tremors, Basic Instinct, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Dreamgirls and Angels & Demons.
During that same period, he freelanced as a Videographer and Photographer. He created over 800 short films for Kung Fu Tai Chi Magazine from their annual Tournament as well as creating Martial Art How-To videos. He was also fortunate to shoot Darth Maul for the cover of the magazine. He also did photo and video shoot for Serra International.
His dabbling in Web design led him to offer to help build the first version of the West Coast Fencing Archive website. Work on the website led to being Producer/Cinematographer/Editor/Travel Agent etc on the feature Documentary The Last Captain and on another documentary currently in Post-Production.
Mark was brought up in Berkeley and fell in love with fencing while attending UCSC in the late 70’s. He spent the next 13 years training with Maestro Charles Selberg and fencing competitively in the United States. He was a nationally ranked foil fencer in the late 80’s and early 90’s and was a member of the US National Squad which includes the top 24 competitors in each weapon. He represented the now defunct Letterman Fencers Club of SF throughout his competitive career and trained with numerous fencing coaches and Masters.
Mark remained a life long friend of Charles Selberg and spent the last few years designing the concept of the West Berkeley Fencing Club with him.
In 1992, Mark retired from fencing to move to Hong Kong and pursue a career in Asian asset management.
Thanks to the following individuals and groups who have provided material to the West Coast Fencing Archive collection.
The Estate of Charles and Julie Selberg
Mark Headley, Berkeley, CA
John McDougall, Talent, OR
Kathy Krusen and Halberstadt Fencers Club, San Francisco, CA
Harold Hayes and the Pacific Fencing Club, Alameda, CA
Paul Soter and Golden Gate Fencing Center, San Francisco, CA
Connie Yu, Mike Botenhagen and The Fencing Center, San Jose, CA
Len Carnighan and the Studio of American Fencing, Portland, OR
Daniel Magay, Los Altos, CA
Maestro Delmar Calvert, Lake Oswego, OR
Gay Jacobsen (D’Asaro) MacLellan, Medford, OR
Garrett W. Nichols, Photographer, Ben Lomond, CA
Andy Shaw and the Museum of American Fencing, Shreveport, LA
Sewell “Skip” Shurtz, Reno, NV, in memoriam
Peter Schifrin, Sculptor, Santa Rosa, CA
Carl Borack, Los Angeles, CA
Cole Harkness and Victory Fencing Gear, San Francisco, CA
Terrence Gargiulo, Monterey, CA
Deborah Bjonerud, Alameda, CA
Mark Decena, San Francisco, CA
Jesse Dogillo, San Jose, CA
Scott Knies, San Jose, CA
Alan Buchwald, Santa Cruz, CA
Julianna Sikes, Berkeley, CA
Laurel Clark Skillman, Globetrotter
Lee Clinch, Rescuer of the Halberstadt Scrapbooks
Joseph Jiuliano, Film and Video Guru, Glendale, CA
Ebay, that Magical Place
Have something to share or add? Our goal is to capture the stories we know are out there. Plus photos, videos, home movies, posters—you name it. All this material helps preserve the stories of West Coast fencing.
Want to know when we publish a story? Or release a new documentary? Sign up for our email list and we’ll keep you posted.