Charles Selberg, Charlie to most, was a Fargo, ND native who discovered fencing at San Francisco State where he received his BA and MA with studio art being his primary focus. His first teacher was the long-time coach at SFSU, Erich Funke-d’Egnuff. He taught fencing for John McDougall at his San Francisco School of Fencing for a brief period, and concurrently learned from both Jack Nottingham and George Piller. In the early 1960s he returned to Fargo and opened the Selberg Fencing Academy where he had a very successful run with numerous students winning local and regional competitions.READ MORE...
Following his student and future wife Julie back to San Francisco, he taught briefly at Halberstadt Fencers Club after the death of Hans Halberstadt but left after being hired at the only-a-year-old University of California Santa Cruz. At Santa Cruz he built a reputation for being “the class” you had to take. His teaching skill and philosophical approach gained massive appeal and he was an extremely popular figure on campus.
In 1970, he, along with Michael D’Asaro, Ed Richards and others, was selected to compete at the Fencing Masters World Championships in London, where Selberg’s foil team took home the Gold medal. Retiring to the hills south of Ashland, OR in the early 1980s, his collection of fencing photos and memorabilia became the foundational collection for the Archive. His efforts in collecting and preserving fencing history alongside longtime friend and colleague John McDougall was hugely important for the impetus for the creation of the West Coast Fencing Archive.
A number of people over the years have done impersonations of the inimitable Hans Halberstadt and they range wide in both style and substance. Charlie Selberg knew Hans well and would often quote him during fencing lectures or footwork drills.
It keeps happening. Coincidence where it’s entirely unexpected. My good friend Terrence Gargiulo says it’s because I’m in the right place, doing the right things. He’s smarter than me and more spiritual, so I’ll take his words at face value.
It’s an interesting time for fencing coaches and clubs, as everyone tries to grapple with maintaining some level of instruction for their students during a global pandemic. The reach of technology in our lives today makes it easy to deliver, but that wasn’t always the case.
Some time back, I wrote a story about Boffers. Designed by fencer/coach Jack Nottingham, they were the Rolls-Royce of polyethylene toy swords.
Time flies when you’re having fun and it’s been almost 4 years since I shared any of Charles Selberg’s Instructional Film Loop series, so let’s dive back in!
A recent gift to the Archive has me dumbfounded. It’s existence was something I had speculated about in a vague way, but never dreamed of finding proof for. Much less, having the proof come directly to me as a donation to the Archive.
It's like fate or an inexorable draw. Or karma. That might be too strong. But if you're named Michael D'Asaro, you eventually move to Texas. Maybe it's the bbq. That would be the last entry on the 'go' side of my go/no go list. The Junior D'Asaro recently moved...
In the woods of Southern Oregon off a dirt road and across a valley from the winding I-5 was a fencing salle d’armes built by Charlie Selberg in an old barn. It was stuffed to the rafters with fencing memorabilia dating back decades.
Charles Selberg, or Charlie as he was more commonly known, in 1966 established the fencing program at UC Santa Cruz, home of the Banana Slugs. More, Charlie Selberg was an artist.
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