Joseph Vince was born Josef Douglas Vincze in Talpos, Romania (then a part of Hungary), married his first wife in 1917 and emigrated to the United States in 1924.
He won the US National Sabre title in 1925 and shortly after, turned to coaching. He was part of the coaching cadre at the 1936 Olympics and had a hugely successful club in New York that won the US National Women’s Foil team title 10 years in a row. After divorcing his first wife, he married one of his students, Marion Lloyd.READ MORE...
They moved to California around 1938, opened a new Salle Vince in the Westwood area of Los Angeles, and Joseph taught fencing and sold real estate. He wrote a couple of books on fencing, ran a fencing supply company and taught a number of Hollywood elite the sport for film roles, most notably Natalie Wood and Tony Curtis for The Great Race. Upon his retirement, he sold his salle and equipment business to Torao Mori, his long-time assistant.
A number of things have come my way recently through various paths. Taken individually, they add to the collection in nice ways, but don’t necessarily give me the grist to crank out a full story around them.
When I struggle with ideas for writing about fencing history for this site, I have a couple of favorite fallback topics. If you’ve been reading for awhile, you can probably guess most of them.
It was graduation week for my schooled-by-Zoom High School Senior son this week, so I thought I’d put together an album of the best of the magazine covers featuring fencing from the Archive collection.
I love running across old photos of fencers. It doesn’t matter who’s in them or what condition they’re in for me to be fascinated with the discovery and the challenge of putting names to faces.
Driving around Southern California may not seem like much of a Holiday, especially when traveling alone, but a recent weekend outmatched all my expectations. The plan was to make four different stops in hopes of collecting fencing history.
Every now and again I rummage through material I’ve collected for this Archive and get reminded of people and things that I haven’t turned my full attention to. Just before Thanksgiving, it was the files in my office related to the Joseph Vince Fencing Equipment Company.
I confess, I don’t know a whole lot about Kendo. Outside of the countless samurai films I’ve seen (which I don’t pretend are representative of Kendo), I’ve only been around the sport a couple of times.
The mystery to me today is fencing master John Mckee from Southern California who trained hundreds and hundreds of fencers over decades. For all the people he taught and all the times he was in the paper, it’s his nature and character that I can’t get a handle on.
Fear. It’s a motivator for me. Not the average, everyday kind of fear, nor an amorphous fear of zombies or clowns. Rather, the fear of loss. A very specific kind of loss.
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.