Brooklyn born Michael D’Asaro began fencing in high school, got a fencing scholarship from NYU and had tremendous success as a collegiate, national and international fencer. An Olympian (1960), US Individual Sabre Champion (1962), 2 time Pan American Games medalist (Epee Silver 1959, Sabre Gold 1963) and World Military Sabre Champion (1963), Michael dropped out of the competitive scene after demands that he cut his hair as a requirement to participate in the 1967 Pan American and 1968 Olympic Games.
Dropping into Haight-Ashbury’s hippie scene during the Summer of Love, a chance encounter led him to begin teaching fencing at the Halberstadt Fencers Club in 1967.READ MORE...
Success came quickly and he built a very strong program at Halberstadt before moving south to the head coach position at San Jose State University.
There, his women’s program, in particular, had phenomenal success, with his fencers winning the national collegiate individual title five years in a row. The program produced also produced Junior Champions, Senior National Champions and several Olympic Team members. He left San Jose in 1985, retiring to Ashland, Oregon. In the late 1980’s, he moved to Los Angeles and coached at the very successful Westside Fencing Center until his death from a brain tumor in 2000.
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.
My first impression of Peter Schifrin was formed by my reaction to seeing his sculpture work used in a poster for a fencing tournament. It was a photo of his sculpt of his teammates, Vinnie Bradford and Stacey Johnson, and I was fascinated by it.
Ever wondered who has the “fencing.com” URL? Yup, it’s the Silicon Valley original, The Fencing Center. Proximity and foresight; a powerful combination. The past two weeks of “Shelterinplace Con – 2020” have been all about San Jose’s The Fencing Center.
Some time back, I wrote a story about Boffers. Designed by fencer/coach Jack Nottingham, they were the Rolls-Royce of polyethylene toy swords.
The 1971 US National Championships were held on the campus of the University of California, Berkeley, commonly known as Cal. The locals did pretty well, too!
The last article I wrote, which featured Michael D’Asaro’s time in San Antonio and the Army, got me thinking about one of the reasons I decided to attend San Jose State to train with him. That reason was the awesome strength of his Women’s foil program.
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...
It’s so much fun to have your expectations and assumptions blown to bits. That happened to me this week when I had the great fortune to meet the daughter of long-time Letterman fencer Colonel Laurance Brownlee.
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.
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