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.
Sometime prior to the summer of 1977, Michael D’Asaro and Charles Selberg devised a plan to create a summer workshop for fencers. Both were instructors at Universities, San Jose State and UC Santa Cruz, respectively
In March of 1961, a team from the USA traveled to Poland to compete in an international meet in sabre. Six Americans attended the match: Tibor Nyilas, Robert Blum, Wally Farber, Laszlo Pongo, George Worth and Michael D’Asaro.
Here below, I’ve culled the best of the black & white negatives that were shot by Charles Selberg. And, fortune of fortunes, the negative pack was taped into a scrapbook that had many of these prints mounted inside.
I’ve got two sets of pictures from the same event, courtesy of the Charles and Julie Selberg collection of fencing memorabilia. One set is black & white film, the other color slides. Today, in photo essay form, I present the best of the color slides. I can...
If you can say anything about the fencers at UCSC during the reign of Charlie Selberg, (and you could say a great deal) they knew how to have a good time.
The short version, the one I like best, is that he was qualified to be a member of the 1968 Olympic sabre team, with one condition. The condition, as allegedly put forward by the AFLA’s selection committee, was that he cut his hair.
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